The first LUSL league game of the season was against our Gower Street nemesis, UCL (affectionately known as 'the Godless Scum'). With our multiple injuries and smaller squad than at Brunel, it was a very nervous media sec who saw the team warm up on our home grounds. Both squads had a lot to prove - UCL having never lost to us before and we needed to avenge the frustrating 10-7 Varsity result.
The game was mostly characterised by an excessive amount of scrums, as both teams were jumpy and prone to make mistakes. When the first scrum was ready for UCL input, our forwards had an impressive push that completely blew opposition away and gained the ball. By the next scrum, the media sec thought UCL would have by now realised the sheer woman power emitting from KCL and have stepped up their scrum game. Alas, no, and they were swiftly obliterated. Out of the 18 scrums altogether, we won 14 (7 of which were UCL's) and only lost 4 (arguably due to the 1.5 metre law... ARGH!).
After the first ten minutes we saw the fruits of our labour as we made it to their try line. A quick pass from Helena out of the ruck to wing Emma came close, but was tackled, while Georgina swiftly made the final effort to push it over the line. An excellent team try and sharp and quick intuition from our fresher wing! The cooperative play was repeated throughout the game, where offloads and quick out-of-the-ruck balls prevented us from staying at UCL try line for long without sneaking a try in somewhere.
As the forwards had an extremely strong game (carrying on from last year), our back line had the space and opportunity to really excel (all European from 10 to 14 - coincidence? I THINK NOT!). Camille (12) deserves special mention as she had a great game: powering through the defense, handing people off and not stopping until a full-back and 5 others had finally dragged her down. Another very positive attribute was how our extensive rucking training really has paid off. We secured own balls, even gained UCL ones, and were creative and quick in reorganising and shipping the ball out.
By half-time, the score was thus 17-12 and we were over the moon.
In second half, we stayed in the UCL half most of the time, trying to make line breaks and hammer through. Risky off-loads were fewer and the back line utilised their space by shipping the ball to outside centres and wings and shifting the play. Jas came on as scrum-half for an injured Helena, who was carried off the pitch by our heroic coach (see pic below). This allowed for 8-pick-ups after scrums, lead by a forceful Helen as a stable ball-carrier.
For us, the scoreline should have been more in our favour, as the UCL tries were scored due to lack of defense and someone making a line break which we couldn't chase down. It is frustrating when the conclusion after matches is again: 'defense, defense, defense'. But hopefully, as the season moves on we'll pay more attention to and strengthen our weaknesses. On the other hand, I have to point out that UCL tries weren't due to good play on their behalf while ours were solid team efforts. At the end of the day, it was clear who had been dominating the pitch.
After the game, multiple cakes were distributed to the entire squad (courtesy of Helen, Katie, Lynn and family). As always when we play UCL, our audience of family and alumni are a huge and valued support. Thanks for coming out to this very memorable day!
Tries: Helena (1), Georgina (2), Lynn (2)
Conversions: Liz (2)
Opposition's Player of the Match: Camille aka. female Mathieu Bastereaud
Forward of the Match: Helen
Back of the Match: Ana
Dick of the Day: Lynn (for being the first captain to ever beat UCL)
Less words, more pics?
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