UUC Firsts win again as Seconds climb the league with narrow win

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UUC Firsts made it six wins form six as they beat Bangor 15-7.

The weather very much dictated that patterns of play should be tight and probably any expansive play would be error strewn however the opening score of the game came from the university out-half Whitcroft making the brave decision to put the ball clinically  through the hands of his backs and outside center Winder looped a pass to Sam Hall who ran in for a trade mark quality finish. The difficult conversion was kicked by Whitcroft, crucial within the context of the match.

As you would expect from a team of Bangor’s tradition the home team came back strongly from the restart and only from some outstanding tackling on the home team midfield by fresher Henry coupled with the uni work horses of Danny Morgan and Darren Leonard stepping up to the mark by stopping Bangor’s ball carriers on the gain line on every occasion.

Bangor scored to level things up, which came from the one period of the game when the students dropped there high standards and made several unforced errors. The Students regrouped and went after the next score, the pack dominated scrum and lineout starving Bangor of possession, the visitors attacked the blind side regularly keeping the dangerous Bangor midfield starved of possession. Their reward for hard work came just before the break when Man of the Match Dunlevey stole a lineout  which Eecock drove into the Bangor’s 10 channel, a quick clear out gave the Uni 9 room to operate and his precision pass releasing winger Rowden whose clever pass to Dunlevey who kicked through and promptly won the foot race to put the score at half time 12 - 7 to the Uni.

The visitors grabbed the telling score half an hour into the second half as Whitcroft slotted a great drop goal to give the students a crucial eight point lead. Bangor attempted to chase the game but the student’s defence not only stopped them but also turned over ball on key occasions.

Meanwhile the UUC Seconds moved to second place in the league after their narrow win over Letterkenny.

The Uni started the brighter of the two teams with a charging run by blindside wing forward Bryan Boyd from the back of a rolling maul, secured by open side Kyle Hetherington encouraged the Letterkenny pack to creep in offside and give a penalty in front of the posts towards Campbell End. There was a gusting wind that would have made this simple kick quite difficult indeed, but Richard Murphy stepped up to the mark and made the opening score.

Letterkenny fought their way back into the game and from one missed tackle out wide saw their centre charge 40 metres to score and their kicker converted. Undeterred the Uni pack battled back hard and suppressed the Letterkenny back line into a hurried kick which gave the uni lads a lineout 15 metres from the line, a well taken lineout by Andrew Munce saw Hetherington once again making a telling drive while popping up to number 8 Ricky Boyd who crashed over the try line, however as obvious as the score was the referee thought otherwise.

From the five metre scrum the Letterkenny backs were found offside, from a nearly identical position Richard Murphy converted the penalty, the uni and Letterkenny Touch Judges both raised their arms but yet again the referee deemed it otherwise.

Letterkenny extended their lead at the start of the second half as they picked up a knock on to race the length of the pitch to score, the conversion was missed.

The students hit back though as crossed the line to score with the conversion making it 10-12.

UUC Twos, who are unbeaten at home this season were now determined to win this match and a penalty five minutes from time just short of the half way line saw Murphy again strike the ball sweetly and the ball sailed between the uprights to make it 13-12.

The man of the match was awarded to Bryan Boyd who returned to the game after a four year absence and showed he still has what it takes. A special thanks to him as well as Peter McLean and Nathan McCall who all stepped up to the mark, and with a team whose heads never dropped and battled to the very end secured a win and the unbeaten record at home still stands from last season.