Match Report
Berkhamsted School 1st XV vs  University College School (UCS)
On: Saturday, 20 Sep 2014
Venue: at Home

It seems churlish (and disrespectful to the opposition) to criticise when a side scores 7 converted tries, in the process exhibiting some fine team and individual skills and wins convincingly, but this was a staccato and syncopated performance, where some inviting scores were ‘butchered’ through careless execution or failure to play with the head up. As a preparation for next week’s big game v KCS, where we will be looking for a measure of redemption after a hammering last year, we know it was not good enough. Chances will be fewer and further between and our execution will have to be infinitely more clinical to come away with a win.

To their great credit, UCS came really ‘fired up’ and hit us hard from the kick-off, as Tom Day’s ringing head in the first few seconds will surely attest. We spent the first 10 minutes very much on the back foot, until some tidy kicking out of hand by Tom ffitch and a good chase by the backs presented us with an attacking scrum from which Ollie Green went over. A few minutes later, a kickable penalty was then rejected in favour of an attacking driven line-out, from which Tom ffitch forced his way over. Directly from the kick-off to the right, Alex Brown launched a counter-attack down our left and committed the full-back classically to release left wing Casey O’Gorman to score unchallenged under the posts. All three tries were converted without fuss by Ollie Green to give us a comfortable half-time lead.

Four converted tries were scored in the second half by Joe Lucas, Tom ffitch, Peter McCall and Ollie Green. The pick of these were a fine individual effort by Tom, who showed strength and dynamism in breaking several tackles, and an excellent team try where, for once, we ‘went through the phases’, using both touch-lines, before UCS ran out of defenders and allowed Ollie to cross almost unopposed. However, the view from behind the posts identified several other wasted gilt-edged opportunities, and the enduring emotion was one of frustration. To their great credit, UCS never gave up, and scored a spectacular length of the field counter-attacking try under the posts, where the ball went through a dozen pairs of hands en route.

Unfortunately, Ali Walters became our third ‘concussion’ case of the season and our reserve strength is certainly being tested. In fairness to the boys, injuries have disrupted our game somewhat, but with tough games coming up against KCS and Bedford Modern, these are not well-timed.