Images: Agatha Torrance
Derwent College cemented their place as college rugby’s premier side, as they romped to a dominant victory in today’s 10s tournament.
Chris Judge’s team didn’t concede a point in any of their four matches and defeated Alcuin 19-0 in the final on a chilly 22 Acres.
In the group stages, Derwent were clearly a class apart, beating Halifax 53-0 and Vanbrugh 50-0. In the other game in Group A, Vanbrugh and Halifax drew 12-12, sending Vanbrugh through to the last four as runners-up.
In Group B, Alcuin were the dominant force, as they dispatched James and a combined Goodricke-Langwith side. James beat the Hes East colleges 47-5, before they themselves were beaten 33-0 by Muzzy Foley’s team, who then went on to record a 35-10 win over Hes East.
Derwent may have been facing their toughest test of the day so far in the semi-finals, but were still able to comfortably overcome James. Two quickfire tries inside the first five minutes quashed any hopes of an unlikely win for the men in black and white. 37-0 was the final score after 20 minutes of play, as Derwent avenged their defeat in the final this time last year.
Alcuin, meanwhile, cruised to a 43-0 win over Vanbrugh to set up a mouthwatering final between what were undoubtedly the two best sides on show. Alcuin ran Derwent closer than any other side had on the day, but tries from Nick Wright, Luka Illing and Christian Elgheim ultimately saw Judge’s side to a 19-0 triumph.
The men in red started well after a rousing pre-match talk from captain Foley, but were suffering badly from a series of injuries and found themselves two tries down at half-time. Alcuin started the second half in impressive fashion, too, making some good gains, but they were just unable to force their way over the try line.
Derwent’s strength in depth was perhaps the deciding factor late on, though, as more and more Alcuin players limped onto the sidelines. There was time for another try just before the full-time whistle, and Derwent were crowned champions.
Victorious captain Judge told Nouse, “10s is a different game and we trained for it – we recognised that we couldn’t play our usual style. But we recognised our weaknesses and capitalised on the fact that we needed to improve. We did, and we were able to exploit the other teams’ strengths and weaknesses to our advantage. I’m really happy.”
Alcuin skipper Foley was magnanimous in defeat, praising his team’s heroic efforts: “Not since the mighty hoards of Genghis Khan have their been such a vanguard of atrocious, ferocious, barbaric beasts that make up the college of Derwent. But once in a generation there are a few bandits, a ragtag band of brothers; we merry few, that stand together, donning our scarlet, crimson, blood-red cloaks of fury. And we stand there and face them – yes we lost, but that’s not important. What’s important is that we had the courage to face them down. And they’re scared now, we let them win, so onwards and upwards to the next one.”
Derwent have now won three of this year’s four one-day tournaments, after last term’s victories in dodgeball and indoor rowing.