James College 10
Derwent College 12
Derwent have confounded the received wisdom regarding college rugby by battling to superb 12-10 win over a usually imperious James side in the final of the collegiate rugby season.
James played their usual expansive game, however a lack of precision, coupled with a brilliant defensive effort from Derwent, prevented them from reaping their customary rewards.
The holders started with a bang and got straight into the Derwent 22 but, despite prolonged pressure, were unable to cross the line. Conceding a penalty allowed Derwent to clear their lines and from the resulting lineout on the half way a sharp backs move created an overlap out wide. A clever grubber kick allowed Oli Wessely to crash over in the corner.
From the restart James dominated posession for large parts of the half and, despite a frustrating ten minutes at the end of the first half, James just about got over in the corner through Phil Scott. Benjamin Brummitt missed the conversion and the teams went in at the break at 5-5
Derwent started the second half with verve, venturing into the James half to be rewarded for their pressure with a penalty, which Wessely was unable to send over.
James were unable to find any rhythm and repeated backs moves failed to make any ground. When they did, simple retention at the breakdown created multiple turnovers for Derwent and they were able to clear their lines.
When Derwent did make it into the James 22, excellent running from Freddy Harris and the the pack resulted in Dan Crehan stepping his way over.
Wessley was on hand to convert. James were not to be outdone though and eventually they managed to string several passages of play together resulting in Antony Matthews going over for the score. Alex Muntus missed the crucial conversion in the 78th minute and Derwent were able to hang on.
A proud Callum Douglas, Derwent Captain, stated that “The fellas have worked so hard all season, to beat an excellent James team is testament to all the hard work that they have put in all year. There are exciting times ahead for this team”.