IN RUGBY A, the showpiece fixture of the College Varsity tournament, Derwent scored a late penalty to defeat a resilient Hatfield 10-7 and topple the Durham’s best rugby college; taking a big step towards the eventual York Varsity victory.
In the freezing conditions of 22 Acres, representing York was Derwent, the pantomime villain of the York collegiate scene. But on this day, the players were very much the receptacle for the hopes of the home crowd. Standing against them were Hatfield, the poshest college in Durham, which is saying something.
Both teams started the game strongly and with a greater quality that was exhibited during even the qualifier weekend on Derwent’s part. After a few minutes and multiple turnovers of possession. Derwent managed to take the lead with a well-executed try ran home on the 15-minute mark after a steady piece of build-up play from DCRUFC.
After a quickly took conversion, the pace of the game picked up to it’s formerly blistering pace in no time with Hatfield not resting on their laurels and instead snarling back at Derwent and after the York side held firm for a long period of the game. The sides looked very evenly-matched with both looking hungry to equalise and extend their lead respectively.
Hatfield finally got their points after the referee determined a Derwent player to have prevented Hatfield from scoring with an illegal tackle and thus awarded them a penalty try.
With the scores now locked up at 7-7, the game became cagier. Both sides were, understandably, wary of conceding late points and thus losing the most important of Varsity fixtures. But this wariness on Hatfield’s part was not enough for the Durham side to take home a share of the points as, three minutes from time, Derwent scored a late penalty, sending the home crowd into raptures and stopping any chance of a late Hatfield winner in the process.
Hatfield were very much dead and buried at this point and the final minutes of the game flew by with the final whistle again sending the largely Derwent crowd into hysteria and confirming that it was York that had taken home the 5 points against the supposed “best team sports university”. This victory was crucial in York’s overall victory as it’s confirmation and the atmosphere around it permeated through to all the matches that were played subsequently.
Note: This article has been edited from print to reflect updating inaccuracies.