IC rugby 1st team smash KCL
Result: KCL 1st XV 7 - 19 Imperial 1st XV
The 1st XV campaign of 2019 started with an away game to KCL. The crisp weather seemed to reflect the nerves amongst the freshers, while the autumnal sunshine mirrored the excitement within the team. The first 10 minutes saw Imperial forwards attacking the try line with pick and gos. After a series of relentless phases, their efforts were not rewarded as the referee (who seemed to not be on form that day) claimed the ball was held up. Moments after, from a turnover, Amin’s piercing ball to Duffy, on the verge of being intercepted, saw him get the opening 5 points as he went on to beat 3 other defenders.
Early in the second half, the dominant KCL scrum near the Imperial try line led to the number 8 walking the ball over; 7-5 KCL.
A dispirited drizzle ensued and Imperial were down to 10 men. Shortly after, with the disappearance of the rain, a small pop pass, as if the ball were a pea popping out of its pod, from Dan Kirrane to Oliver Duffy in the middle of the pitch saw Duffy score his second for the day; 7-12 Imperial. The boys fought for another try to put away the game. Lustreless phases of unimaginative KCL attack was met with a web-like defensive structure the team had worked hard on; both the line speed and the aggression in the tackles proved to be too much for KCL as they struggled to keep possession. In the blink of an eye, Dan Kirrane was off and running for the try line as he scooped up the ball rolling out of a ruck going on to side step the back three; 7-19 Imperial. With minutes left, KCL were unable to get back in the game. In the end, moments of brilliance from the Imperial backs and a gallant defensive effort from the forwards were enough to get the first win of the season. In particular, the accuracy of the 5 lineout maestros in catching darts from Toby Daniels must commended.
IC rugby 2nd team beat Medway
Result: Medway 1st XV 5 - 22 Imperial 2nd XV
Valerio fielded an experienced XV to face Medway, with just three freshers making the cut and multiple familiar faces returning to the side after last years’ sabbatical. We knew we were in for a tough game against last years’ league winners, who beat us both home and away last season. They were considerably bigger than us, but we knew that if we applied the structure that we’d been working on in Monday evening sessions, we had the potential to tear them apart.
Rudman took the kick off well and carried hard, setting up a strong platform for George Morgan to box kick. Relentless defence from the home side followed, putting Medway on the back foot. After a turnover from Charles Courougeux, sustained attack meant the visitors eventually lost their discipline, enabling Thornton to go quickly and score the first five points of the match.
Dictated by Valerio, imperial stuck to their game plan well, with a series of ‘munsters’ drawing in and tiring the big Medway pack. When it was time to strike, a well-executed back’s move saw Rohit cross over in the corner on his return to the 2nd XV to leave the score at 10-0 at half time.
Imperial had lots of territory in the first half and felt disappointed not to have turned it into more points. Cal deemed it necessary to look to the fresher-filled bench for inspiration, with Peter Hyde, Elliott Stoclet, Jack Polturak and Freddie Sligo coming on to make their 2XV debuts.
A stalemate followed for the majority of the second half, before Medway realised where their strength lied; the pick-and-go. They successfully did this from their own 22 to score their first points of the match. The conversion meant the score was 10-7 in favour of the home side.
With less than 10 minutes to go and Imperials defence proving impenetrable, Medway knew that they had to try and be a bit more creative. This resulted in them attempting to go wide, but Charles’ intuition meant he read the play perfectly, intercepting a wide pass and running in for Imperial’s third try.
With the game seemingly over, Imperial were hungry to chase that fourth try to secure a bonus point which may prove vital in their title contention. With Marco and Shuya on the pitch, you’re never lacking in flair, and this is exactly what was required when they combined with fresher Peter to see Marco score under the posts, converted by Valerio.
The 2nd XV have a lot to be proud of after that performance against a strong Medway side and it’s looking good for the rest of the season. Nevertheless there’s a lot to work on as we should’ve shut them out in the first half.
Special shout-out to Brzosko for filling in at prop after Matias flaked because he can’t hack a hangover.
P.S. Apologies if this is incorrect, I banged my head mid-game so my memory may not be too reliable.
MOTM: Simon Thorntorn.
IC rugby 3rd team defeat SOAS
Result: SOAS 1st XV 12 - 14 Imperial 3rd XV
The opening fixture of the season saw ICURFC 3rd XV take on SOAS 1st XV at Harlington.
Under favourable conditions the opening exchanges were dominated by Imperial. The sustained pressure yielded an early try, finished with a brilliant solo effort from Sam Hirons inside the opposition 22. A well kicked conversion gave the hosts an early 7-0 lead. The game became a lot cagier for the rest of the half as errors from both sides slowed play down, preventing Imperial from extending their lead.
Sam Hirons doubled his tally in the second half, making the most of the referee’s advantage by breaking through a series of SOAS last ditch tackles to touch down. A second conversion further extended the lead to 14-0.
Imperial’s lack of discipline, particularly at the breakdown, allowed SOAS back into the game as they scored twice. In one case, Imperial failed to ground the ball within their own in-goal-area following a long kick over the top. Handing an easy score to the opposition. This brought the score to 14-12 which set up a very scrappy finish in which Imperial showed a huge defensive effort in the face of late pressure.
The final minutes saw Matt Takle shown a yellow card for persistent off-side as Imperial looked to close out the game. Shortly after, the whistle blew seeing the 2019⁄2020 campaign get off to a winning start.