St Albans and Medics find cure for conditions
London Division Three North West St Albans 22 Imperial Medicals 31 ST Albans and high flying Imperial Medicals served up a highly entertaining game in atrocious conditions in London Division Three North West on Saturday.
London Division Three North West
St Albans 22 Imperial Medicals 31
ST Albans and high flying Imperial Medicals served up a highly entertaining game in atrocious conditions in London Division Three North West on Saturday.
Despite the wind and rain Imperial Medicals played at a fast and furious pace. Fortunately for St Albans they had been able to draft in returning students Lloyd Bickle and Ollie Cooper-Millar into their back row and their pace and tackling ensured damage limitation.
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The first try came in the 15th minute as Medics gained reward for their expansive rugby and the conversion from under the posts was a formality.
St Albans stormed back and forced Imperial onto the back foot. They picked up from the base of the scrum in midfield and the back row drove into the Medics defence. A number of forward drives took play into the opponent's 22 metre area where the ball was released to the backs and Joe Shaw, making a welcome return to the side following a long injury, came off his wing to split the defence to score.
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Two minutes later Saints were back on the attack and fleet footed second row Dan Hillier found himself on the wing. Despite being pitted against a winger Hillier backed himself and agonisingly he was hauled down three metres short. The back row was quickly in to recycle the ball and prop Tony Giddings drove over to put Saints in the lead.
The lead was short lived as on 32 minutes the Medical students were again belying the conditions and once the again their winger was hurtling down the wing.
St Albans full Back Mark Kentish managed to cut him off but an inside pass let the centre in to score.
Almost from the kick off Imperial were back on the attack and two missed tackles allowed them to extend their lead with another try which was converted.
Playing injury time in the first half it was important that St Albans responded quickly and hooker Brenton Lemiere proved unstoppable as he charged to the line. Kentish kicked the conversion and referee blew for half time with the Medics leading 19-17.
The strong wind was blowing diagonally across the field and was slightly in Imperials favour in the second half. However, it was St Albans who scored first to reclaim the lead. Following another strong forward drive winger Joe Shaw crossed for a second try.
Medics responded with a line out drive and a score round the blind side which was converted to restore their lead at 26-22.
St Albans worked hard to retake the lead. The forwards started to get the upper hand and restricted the possession that the talented medics three-quarter line received. Despite having the wind against them St Albans dominated territorially and the Imperial team had to abandon their open style and kick for position.
Unfortunately Saints were disrupted by two injuries when first full back Mark Kentish was forced from the field with a cut above the eye and soon after his replacement Paul Randall also left the field with an even worse cut which required seven stitches. This bought veteran and coach Nick Lister onto the field for only his second game of the season.
Despite the changes St Albans continued to press but were unable to make the breakthrough. As the game entered injury time Imperial made the game safe when a loose St Albans pass was snatched up by Imperial and the winger escaped to score his second try. The referee then signalled the end of a highly entertaining clash with Medics taking the points 31-22.