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Rugby's Narrow Defeat to Kingston

Rugby's Narrow Defeat to Kingston

UEL men’s rugby first team were defeated 29-17 by a strong Kingston outfit in a competitive BUCS South Eastern Conference Plate semi-final at the East London Rugby Club on Wednesday afternoon. UEL play in South Eastern 5B and sit top of the league with one game remaining, whilst the visitors are bottom in the South
Eastern 4A. This promised to be an entertaining game with the grand prize being a place in the cup final.

Despite the wet and windy conditions, a good crowd gathered for this encounter which looked to be living up to expectation from the off. Kingston came forward quickly, gaining ground, and ensuring that most of the play occurred in UEL’s half of the field during the opening exchanges. This period of pressure did not take long to pay off as Kingston drove over the line, taking an early 5-0 lead with the first try of the match but failing to put away the conversion.

Soon, UEL began to gain composure and found confidence on the ball. It was their turn to apply the pressure and before long they drew level. Deji showed great strength and determination to hand off the tackler and score the try. However, like their opponents, the conversion evaded the UEL kicker leaving the score at 5-5.
It was becoming a somewhat ‘end-to-end’ encounter as Kingston broke forward once more, a great run from the middle of the pitch was only ended just before the try line where UEL turned over possession. It was Kingston who regained the lead however, courtesy of a penalty directly in front of the posts which put the away side 8-5 to the good.

Following the trend of the match, it was UEL’s turn to initiate a response and they found it via Herridge, who showed great persistence to get over the line. It was Charlie Wilson’s responsibility to take the conversion, which he coolly converted to put UEL 12-8 in the lead. This was shaping up to be a fascinating contest. Both sides, who possessed plenty of physicality, looked threatening in attack. Kingston had shown some superb handling in this half, working the ball from side to side accurately and with pace.

This quality was once again rewarded. Kingston moved the ball straight from the scrum and forced their way across the line, before making the most of the conversion to give themselves a 15-12 advantage. The visitors really had the wind in their sails and before too long they were at it again. After a physical battle in the middle of the park, a try for Kingston resulted from a clear run in on the posts after the space opened for them. Once again, the conversion was scored putting Kingston 22-12 ahead, a 10-point lead which they took into half time.

At the break, UEL could reflect on a half with plenty of positivity in attack. Yet, Kingston had made the most of the chances they had created. The home side were certainly not out of it, but needed to make a quick start to the second half to overturn the deficit. After a pulsating first 40 minutes, the
second half did not quite play out in the same fashion. It was a cagey opening, with no real scoring opportunities for either side. As the half progressed, UEL were struggling to get a hold of the game, whilst Kingston were happy to frustrate them and maintain their lead.

Match report by Sam Few.