On the 25th of November we headed to Chippenham RFC for the first Southern round of the University Touch Championships Southern series with 2 teams, Stags (1s), Bucks (2s) and 7 debutants!
The Stags began their dominant day by winning all 3 pool games, only conceding 2 tries whilst scoring 25! The bucks had a difficult pool draw losing their first 2 games to Bath 1 and Cardiff 1s, but came out strong with a convincing win against Exeter 4s to finish the morning on a high for both teams!
With the Bucks through to the Bowl semi-final, they faced Southampton 1s and smashed it out of the park with a clinical 4-1 masterclass from the Bucks!
Stags into the Cup semi final and down to 3 girls due to injury, they played Cardiff 1s, a strong side with a few Welsh internationals, but the stags stuck to their guns and came out on top with a 4-2 win and the girls earnt a much needed rest before Finals footy!
Bucks now into their Bowl final for the first time in 2 years…they faced a new promising team from Falmouth, with a chaotic start and a big injury to one of our girls meaning once again for one of our teams, they were down to 3 girls, the Bucks fought it out and displayed some amazing grit and skill, special mention to Matthew Beecher and Oliver Bell, the Bucks for the first time in UoS touch rugby history, had brought home the bowl trophy!!!
Onto the Cup final for the Stags vs Exeter 1, an extremely dominate side and reigning champions of the UTC national series 2022-23 and not to mention the largest club in the northern hemisphere (source: they have so many members they must be), little old us walks over with our 24 members…now we always knew this would be tough, Exeter have beaten us pretty convincingly in the same round and final last year with a final score of 7-4 to Exeter. The game began and Exeter showed why they are one of the best in the game, they had about 60 players on the sidelines from their 3 other teams chanting, they managed to rack up the score and suddenly we were 7-5 down with 2 minutes to go. Then a show of brilliance from a Vince x Tallulah link up with a stunning long ball and catch on the wing we were 7-6, 30 seconds on the clock. Suddenly, Vince Parker showed why he’s in the England Mens open and unleashed his speed and ran the pitch, 7-7 at the final whistle. For those who don’t play touch, this means we go to “drop off”, you go to 4 v 4 on the full pitch (2 girls 2 boys) for 2 minutes, if its still a draw you go to 3v3 and golden point.
Vince, Frances, Emma and Joe took the field, we had possession thanks to Emma’s tactful rock-paper-scissors win at the beginning of the game. The 4 kept the ball safe whilst travelling down to Exeters try line where Frances then had a strike, 7-8 to the stags. Still 60 seconds left to hold this lead. For Exeter the pressure was too much and they dropped it after 5m, the team kept cool and knew we had the score line on our side, the side lines already knowing we had the time on our side either. Then suddenly, Vince and Joe finished off the extras with a stunning dive from Joe to take it to 9-7 to the Stags. The final hooter went and the Bucks stormed the field, the stags had done it!
As a club we have never been more successful, clinical or cohesive, we are challenging the top and growing as a club, teams and individuals. Special thanks for this day goes to our coaches who travelled with us Doug Maltby and Charlie Steed, our coaches who couldnt make it Harry Richards and Tom Hardiman and of course our Head Coach Dom Tripp who is currently in Australia captaining the England Mens Open at their tour to the Queensland and New South Wales State Cups. Also a special thank you to Eliott Lewis, for his excellent clock watching and support throughout the day, also for all the work he does behind the scenes to fuel our growth, and finally thank you to Sarah Collins from last year, who without we wouldn’t be as fortunate to be in this position today with the support and resources.
We are hungry for more at the national rounds, we will see you then!