Lancaster University Men’s Rugby Union First XV’s remain undefeated

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Lancaster first VX overcome a strong Liverpool 2’s XV away to put them top of the Northern 2a division

Final score 22-10

After a promising start to the season with two convincing victories against Bangor University and Edge Hill, Lancaster Men’s rugby first XV went into this pivotal game brimming with confidence. Last season’s encounter with the Liverpool 2s XV had been a close affair and hopes were high that we could repeat that win again, this year.

The contest exploded into action early with ferocious hits from both sides, which was to be a recurring theme throughout the game. Great carries from the front five, especially Jake Hawkins and Dave Ainslie, led to the first opportunity for points for Lancaster through the award of a penalty, which fly half Sam Maynard duly converted. However, discipline let Lancaster down with Liverpool gaining vital territory with persistent penalties. The Liverpool 9 capitalized on this through an instinctive quick tap penalty that resulted in him scoring under the posts, putting Liverpool into a 7-3 lead.  The rest of the half was a cagey affair with both teams focusing on defence and unwilling to give too much away.

After a strong team talk during the half time interval from captain Ollie Vidgeon, the Lancaster first XV started the second half with the ‘bit between their teeth’. The forwards dominated every aspect of play with the scrums growing from strength to strength, mainly due to the powerhouse props, Thomas Moréira and Salvador Torres. The lineouts were also impeccable due to the combination of hooker Niall Swazi Parkhill and lineout jumper Jonathan Preston. The first breakthrough of the half, scored by Sam Ackers, was the outcome of Lancaster’s set-piece dominance and the try was expertly converted to put Lancaster Cats back into the lead, 10-7. With the momentum now clearly in favour of Lancaster, their skilled and talented backs began slicing open the Liverpool defence with a number of clever moves that demonstrated the hard work that had clearly been done on the training ground.

by LURFC
by LURFC

The pressure was too much for the Liverpool team with Sam Ackers putting his head to good use charging down the Liverpudlian fly half. The loose ball was picked up cleverly by centre Elliot Burton who ran in for a converted try making the score 17-10 to the men in red. With 15 minutes left on the clock, lung bursting runs from Chris Weeks and debutante Simon Blake created an opening for speed merchant Jonny Murray who clinically finished in the corner. With the score 22-10, Liverpool threw caution to the wind as they tried to get something from the game but great collective team defence with the influential Luke Dilley and Tobias Holder-Williams to the fore kept the opposition at bay until the final whistle.

Captain Ollie Vidgeon was very pleased with the team’s performance and said after the match:

“This win against Liverpool has not only shown how far we have come, but where we are heading as a team. We are growing week on week and this performance is just a small representation of all our hard work”.

Looking ahead, the squad, as a whole, has put in a huge amount of work in the pre-season and this is now paying dividends on the pitch with Lancaster 2nd XV maintaining their good form with a victory against MMU Cheshire, and Lancaster 3rd XV drawing against a strong Keele 2nd XV.

The new coach, Fergus Owens, has definitely had an impact bringing plenty of new ideas to the squad including detailed game plans, advice on nutrition and specific fitness training.  It is important that all teams are performing to the best of their ability as we move towards Roses 2014, which represents the 50th Anniversary of this prestigious event. Each team’s target has to be promotion, which will put us in good stead to what is sure to be a colossal match up against York.

To keep up to date on all LURFC teams visit our website page at www.lurufc.com or our Twitter account @Lancaster_Cats and make sure you come down and support us!

Team: 1. Tomás Moreira  2. Niall Swazi Parkhill 3. Salvador Torres 4. Jake Hawkins 5. Dave Ainslie 6. Jonathan Preston 7. Sam Ackers 8. Luke Dilley  9. Tobias Holder-Williams     10. Sam Maynard 11. Jonny Murray 12. Ollie Vidgeon 13. Elliot Burton 14. Chris Weeks 15. Simon Blake

Subs: 16. Joshua Miller 17. James Gamble 18. Martim Megre 19. A.J Clancy
20. Jacob Henchliffe 21. Elliot Foster

MoTM: Luke Dilley and Simon Blake

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