JAMES COLLEGE 42
Saturday 24th October
While the scoreline was somewhat flattering to James, they were clearly the better side on the day. Their superior organisation, most clearly demonstrated by their matching kit in comparison to their opponent’s motley collection, allowed them to retain the ball far more effectively in the difficult conditions, converting their pressure into points.
The conditions were difficult due to frequent and persistent rain throughout the match. The rain led to numerous handling errors from both sides, particularly from Goodricke/Langwith/Wentworth (G/L/W), who committed too many errors to take advantage of their many flashes of good play.
Two of these errors gifted James their first two tries, as G/L/W twice failed to clear their lines under pressure, allowing easy scores for Alex Muntus and Chris Smith.
Determined defence and great disruptive work at the breakdown from G/L/W kept the score to 14-0 at half-time, but they never really threatened to score.
Alex Muntus, the James Captain, contributed 22 of his side’s points in a 42-0 win over Goodricke/Langwith/Wentworth on Saturday. Photograph by George Lowther.
The second-half saw the rain relent and James assert their dominance. G/L/W still found it hard to string together any phases, and James’ pressure led to regular tries throughout the half. Tries from Giles Welford, Aaron Rolph and Rob Donnell all came after periods of sustained James pressure. Muntus then capped off the scoring late on with a solo try from 50 yards out, taking advantage of some tired G/L/W tackling.
The combined team also improved their handling and general play in the second- half, seeming to get used to playing with each other, but they were still unable to break down the organised James defence.
Huw Harrow, of James, evades a tackle during Saturday’s opening match of the Emperor College Rugby Championship. Photograph by George Lowther.
While it may have been better to have a closer-fought match to start the tournament, Saturday’s match delivered on everything that is great about college rugby. The game was played with intensity, yet also with a great spirit between the teams, with banter regularly exchanged during the game. There were no ugly incidents in the game, and barely two minutes after the game, the players were mingling together and sharing some beers. They were just unfortunate that the rain had driven away any potential crowd.
However, in terms of rugby quality, there is much more to come. James didn’t look as dominant as many expected, even taking into account the conditions, and will have much stiffer tests ahead against the likes of Alcuin and Derwent. Goodricke/Langwith/Wentworth just needs some time on the practice fields to gel as a team and they could become a serious threat.
Alex Muntus, James Captain: ‘I thought the scoreline was a tad flattering ……… we’re going to have to tighten up massively against the likes of Alcuin and Derwent.’
‘Off third and fourrth phase we pretty much always scored so this is something were going to be working on a fair bit this week.’
Charlie Filkry, Goodricke/Langwith/Wentworth Captain: ‘James College clearly benefited from their established position and regular practices last year, dominating most of the game’s set pieces and forcing a number of tries.’
‘I think we should be encouraged though by the evenness of the game in open play and our frequent success at the breakdown, and should largely ignore a scoreline which in no way reflected the realities of the match.’
‘I think we will be a massive threat given even a few weeks of training and are all looking forward to this Saturdays match against Alcuin College.’
Tries: Muntus (2), Smith, Welford, Rolph, Donnell
Conversions: Muntus (6)
In a change to the previously publicized schedule, this Saturday’s matches will take place one after the other at Archbishop Holgate School. Times are as follows:
11.00am – James vs. Halifax
12.30pm – Alcuin vs. Goodricke/Langwith/Wentworth
2.00pm – Derwent vs. Vanbrugh