Alcuin romped to a 41-0 win against an injury plagued Vanbrugh side as the College Rugby season got underway on Sunday. After a tight opening, Alcuin imposed themselves, a flurry of second half tries giving them a well earned bonus point.
A scrappy yet competitive first half saw a Joe Cooper try eventually break the deadlock for Alcuin, outside centre James Evans then added another five points on the half hour mark with a weaving run through the Vanbrugh defensive line, with Marinus Marin putting over the conversion. Vanbrugh still had reason for optimism at half-time, the score line still at 12-0.
However with injuries hitting hard and Alcuin going up a gear, Vanbrugh began to struggle. Marin made a clever line break before releasing Andy Thompson to swan dive under the posts. The game started to be played almost exclusively inside Vanbrugh’s half, the Vanbrugh men doing well on one occasion to prevent a mighty Alcuin maul from crashing over the try line.
It actually took a gift from the Vanbrugh backs for Alcuin to score again; when Vanbrugh tried to run the ball out from their own five metre line, they calamitously knocked on; allowing Muzzy Foley to pounce on the loose ball and dive over.
The game now looked firmly won at 26-0, but credit must go to Vanbrugh for soldiering on. They did look to be building a period of pressure in the Alcuin 22 midway through the second half, only for fantastic work by Alex Wilson to produce a turnover which quickly turned into a counter attack as Marin once again ran at the Vanbrugh defence.
Sam Asfahani reeled off from the subsequent scrum and offloaded to Aidan Woodcock who dived into the corner. Further tries from Foley and Asfahani completed the route.
Alcuin can be pleased with a dominant performance and an impressive score line, meanwhile a Vanbrugh team attempting to deal with incorporating a great deal of new players is clearly left with a lot to work on, but they can take heart from their first-half competitiveness. Foley, the Alcuin captain, stated simply “we’re very pleased with the win”.
Another captain who would have been impressed with his side’s performance is Derwent’s stand-in skipper Freddy Harris. With regular leader Tolga Necar sidelined due to illness Harris saw his side to a 51-0 win over Goodricke.
A hat-trick from Will Hardwick, braces apiece for Josh Clewes and Daniel Corne, and tries from Charlie Clark and Seb Cowell de Gruchy were more than enough for the side in blue as they eased to a comfortable victory.
Hardwick was the first to cross the whitewash, following a good break from Charlie Clark and soon after Clewes and Corne had added tries of their own.
Second row Cowell de Gruchy then showed a turn of pace, allied with a display of strength, to add five more points and before the whistle was blown for the end of the first half there was time for Corne’s second try, going over in the corner after more good hands by the Derwent backline.
Goodricke had enjoyed very little of possession or territory in the first period and as soon as play resumed it was clear the pattern wasn’t going to change. Hardwick went over for his second and his side’s sixth before winger Charlie Clark got his name on the scoresheet.
Will Hardwick’s hat-trick made it 44-0 to Derwent before Clewes bundled his way over for the ninth try of the match, following some strong work from prop Rob Johnson.
Captain Freddy Harris was very impressed with his side’s performance: “I’m really happy. Technically, it was one of the best performances I’ve seen from any College Rugby side. The freshers we have were absolutely outstanding; I was blown away by the quality on show. We’ve got James in a few weeks and that’s going to be an absolutely huge game.”