Birkbeck College 1st team 24 v 10 Imperial College 3rds
Birkbeck rugby team re-ignited their hopes of holding on to last year's title with an impressive win over Imperial. The teams met on Saturday the 21st of January at Wanstead Rugby Club the home of Birkbeck.
The game didn't seem to be in Birkbeck's favour when Imperial crossed the line from a pick and go drive 5 minutes in. Their fly half missed the conversion.
Birkbeck 0 - 5 Imperial.
However Birbeck adapted to the early pressure and started to do what they do best and utilise the strength of their forward pack. For a good 20 Minutes the two sides tried to outsmart the other; the athleticism of Imperial and brute force of Birkbeck. Although the succession of powerful runs from the likes of CJ and André took its toll on Imperial and following five minutes of pressure and a beautiful offload from Glen, Anthony smashed over the line to take Birbeck even.
Half-time : Birkbeck 5 - 5 Imperial.
Birkbeck success last year saw an influx of new and talented players. The likes of whom relished the chance to put their mark on the game in the second half. Mattia's superb cross field kick from the 22 bounced into the hands of Birkbeck's winger William who beat two defenders only to be taken down by an exceptional tackle from Imperial's fullback whilst in for a try. Following an enforced substitution, with Mario coming off for a nasty cut to his nose, Jordan came on and increased attacking potential from the back row.
Jordan quickly made his mark with a spectacular try down the wing, building on great play from the back of the scrum. This was touched down under the posts to give an easy conversion chance.
Birkbeck 12 – 5 Imperial
A second try for Jordan swiftly followed, a great break from the backs (beautiful passing from Federico and Mattia) led to a scrum on the halfway. A pick and go from Glen at the rear gained 15 yards, followed by a lovely 10 yard drive from Dre. A swift breakout from the backs gained more yards and Jordan was able to finish from outside the 22 metre line, riding through at least five tackles, at one point dragging a defender by his boot. A more difficult chance was converted.
Birkbeck 19 – 5 Imperial
At this point several substitutions were made with the intent to retain possession and slow down the game. Notable substitutions were Alex (playing first game for Birkbeck) for Andre who had a stormer, Sam for Glen, Rafiq for Fede. Following the substitutions Imperial found the rucks and scrums very hard going yet were able to score a try through a chip & chase with a highly favourable bounce. Try not converted.
Birkbeck 19 – 10 Imperial
With only 8 minutes to go, the game began to feel very edgy, however a superb individual effort from Jordan with 5 minutes to go realistically put the game to rest. Try not converted.
Birkbeck 24 – 10 Imperial
Imperial really pushed within the last few minutes, desperately trying to close the points gap but to no avail. The feeling amongst the Birkbeck team at final whistle was one of sheer exhilaration. After four uncompetitive matches against imbalanced teams, Birkbeck finally had a match against similar opposition and emerged victorious. Not one player left the field without giving their all and should all be proud. All thanks must be made to Imperial College for fielding a genuine development side and generally for being a really nice bunch of lads, their last ditch tackling was also top notch and stopped at least three tries.
The win meant a lot for the team especially to Glen who has been the brainchild of Birbeck RFC rebirth. Birkbeck now sit 2nd in the LUSL league with two games to go. Birkbeck's next game is against UCL on Saturday for the fourth of February.
D of Day – Ben for an awful pass, Try of Day – Jordan for his third, Tackle of Day – Oli for sensational last ditch tackle, Man of the Match - Jordan