Home Sport BUCS: Rugby Fresh 1sts romp to final

BUCS: Rugby Fresh 1sts romp to final

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Freddie Turner reports on more success for EURFC:

Photo: Edwin Yeung
Photo: Edwin Yeung

EURFC 3’s (Fresh 1’s) capped off a fine day for the club, impressively moving into the BUCS trophy final, after they dispatched of UWIC 2’s in fine style at a gloriously sunny Topsham. Buoyed by watching the first team’s victory immediately before their game, Exeter performed superbly with tries from Gavin Parker (2), Harry Ledger and James Doe sealing an emphatic victory.

Having already secured the  ‘Western 1A’ league title as well as recording back to back away wins against Loughborough and Pontypridd earlier in this cup run, the side went into the match full of confidence. This confidence, matched with extremely high levels of intensity and skill came to the fore in the early exchanges, with Exeter forcing mistakes from UWIC, allowing kicker Gavin Parker to score the first points of the day.

Exeter continued their early dominance, with a couple of huge shoves at the scrum giving them front foot ball. This strong platform, allowed for the first try of the game, as a set play move, straight from the training ground worked to perfection.

Amidst decoy runners, the ball was worked wide for Parker to run into space. He showed super strength to run through two attempting tacklers and complete a well worked try, which he subsequently converted, to make it 10-0.

With Exeter’s pack offering them a majority of possession, half backs Sam Waltier and James Doe began to really dictate proceedings, feeding big ball carriers, as well as playing some expansive phases out wide. The Exeter pressure was constant and after sustained territory, flanker Harry Ledger showed great feet to step the onrushing defender and saunter under the posts.

The game appeared to be running away from the visitors, who were struggling to live with Exeter in all departments. They needed some momentum and fortunately found some with a breakaway try, totally against the run of play.

Turnover ball allowed them to exploit a huge gap out wide, where their winger showed lightning pace and finishing prowess to touch down in the corner. However, Exeter responded resolutely, scoring a try of  their own just minutes later.

This time they were able to find space out wide, as a long pass from Doe put winger Alex Webb through. He showed great composure to draw the last man before passing inside for Parker to go through for his second converted try of the game.

Photo: Edwin Yeung
Photo: George Keleney

Exeter were forced to make a change in the back row just before half time, as try scorer Ledger damaged his ankle, which hopefully won’t rule him out of the final. This was the only negative note of an otherwise stellar first half performance for the green army, who led 24-5. Their dominance up front had allowed their backs to cause UWIC’s defence real problems.

The second half began in an altogether different fashion, with a resurgent UWIC side flying out of the blocks, knowing they needed early scores to get back into the game.

Up front they began to disrupt the Exeter line out and were much more competitive at the breakdown, whilst in the backline they attempted to play more expansively. The Exeter defence was now under the spotlight but it stood firm, against the now persistent barrage.

However, the penalty count was growing which forced the referee to send Vince Young into the bin for not rolling away. UWIC continually turned down points in search of the elusive second try which eventually came, as they made use of the numerical advantage to score in the corner. The comeback however never really got going as Exeter’s defence remained impressive, helped by their dominant scrum which continued to release pressure at key moments.

Once they were restored to their full complement, Exeter began to regain possession and control of the game. There was even time for their fourth try before the close, as Doe gathered his own cheeky chip and slid in under the posts, after a great break from substitute flanker Charlie Skipwith.  This score completed a resounding win after a gutsy second half display.

The final will take place as part of ‘BUCS Big Wednesday’ on March 26th at Surrey Sports Park and will be against Dundee 1’s. On this showing, this side will have a fantastic chance of picking up some silverware and rounding of a superb season. The future of EURFC looks every bit as bright as the here and now.

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