Rugby League Match Report

6th March 2011

Saturday 5th March saw the Nottingham Rugby League Varsity changing location to a very wet and cold Highfields. With a great turnout of supporters from both sides, not to mention the match’s prime location for a spot of SU elections campaigning, the atmosphere was enthusiastic despite the drizzle, and our 1st team emerged onto the pitch confident and determined following a 2nd team win for Uni.

Uni kicked off and straightaway commandeered play towards Trent’s 22, appearing the more dominant and focused side. The first 10 minutes put Trent’s well organised defence to the test, with Uni applying heavy pressure and the game yet to move out of Trent’s half. However a scrappy 4th tackle saw the first injury with Uni’s number 10 hobbling off the pitch to the attention of the medical team. This interruption deterred Uni’s strong assault, with the ball being past swiftly up the pitch leading to the first Trent attack and very nearly points on the board. However Uni defence looked unfazed and strong as they regained possession. A break down the left wing and a sloppy defensive attempt led to a premature celebration from the Uni side and supporters as the try was disputed by the linesman, and ultimately disallowed as Trent touched it down before the Uni hand. However Uni took advantage of their placing and worked well together to break through the defence, scoring the first try of the game. A successful conversion brought the score to 6-0.

After the first substitutions, spurred on by their upper hand, a very motivated and organised Uni side continued to dominate the Trent half, defending a particularly big hit well. Continuing to step up their attack with a determined move up the pitch with strong tackles the game came to a deadlock around the half-way. Trent exhibited a few careless mistakes as Uni drove onto their 22, and a great set up from number 7 brought about a second Uni try. Not quite getting the tricky conversion, the score was 10-0, evidently frustruating Trent who responded by putting in harder hits and pressing on into the Uni half. Potentially caught off guard by this retort of power, Uni left gaps in their defence to Trent’s advantage as they finally put points on the board. A straightforward conversion took the score to 10-6, mobilising a very determined effort from both teams to push harder for the win. Uni pressured back into the Trent 22, pressing hard right on the try line in an unlucky scoring attempt. The excitement and energy of the match really kicked in just inside the first half, as Uni started off strong and dominant Trent seemed to take a little longer to wake up and pull together.Trent appearing now to have found their footing, their defence working well and exhibiting the tight organisation we are used to seeing from them in previous Varsity meetings.

The second half saw two equally determined teams fighting for the win, an early scrum from aTrent error brought the ball back into play only for neither team to gain much territory as deadlock ensued around the half-way. Trent and Uni were both playing scrappy and highly charged rugby with a high level of foul play, with the former ultimately breaking away and creating a scoring opportunity for themselves. The interception of a poor pass ruined their chance, yet showing sheer determination and power they fought on to score a try, converted directly in front of the post and taking Trent into the lead. Having truly brought themselves back into the game, their opposition appeared unsettled by Trent’s found resolve, resulting in sloppy passes and a desperate need for the well executed passing and organisation they displayed in the first half. Trent defended their sets with apparent ease as Uni pulled together, making good ground in the Trent half and ultimately breaking through the gaps in their defence, sustaining pressure and turning a very lucky break into a try.

Following the first missed conversion of the match the score stood at 14-12 going into the final 20 minutes. Both teams appeared energetic and highly charged, defending well and remaining in the middle of the pitch, yet Trent emerged victorious with a brilliant breakaway run down the left wing resulting in a try under the post, taking the lead again at 14-18. Tension seemed high as the final whistle dawned, a fight breaking out after a particularly vicious tackle, drew both spectators and subbed players onto the pitch.

With scores settled Uni determinedly fought back, yet Trent’s defence held well, they appeared comfortable and confident as the stronger side of the moment, tackling well and keeping the Uni side away from the try line. A chance break-through and an unfortunate Uni error concedes another Trent try, and a successful conversion brought the final score to 14-24. A very confident and impressive comeback by Trent defeated the hard-working Uni team; arguably the stronger side of the first half.

The Trent victory brings the Varsity series standing to 3-1 in Trent’s favour; let’s hope the netball and basketball later on this week can stabilise the score.

Emma Simmons