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Injury, preparation for North West trials and academia meant the Lynx took a side missing twelve of its usual players to the UCLAN sports arena on Wednesday, Week 6. UCLAN were lucky to win by 36-16 and take Lancaster’s place at the top of the league. In the 80 minutes of rugby, the Lynx players gave everything for the cause with heads held high. In seasons gone by Lancaster would have been on the end of a thrashing, however, this time, with a little bit more luck they would have been taking home the three points.
Lancaster started brightly, with the first ten minutes seeing the Lynx growing into comfortable ascendancy. The only scary moment came two minutes from the off when UCLAN got within meters of Lancaster’s try line, before Patrick ‘Paddy’ Boyers magnificently stripped the ball, and while UCLAN were busy complaining to the ref, gained 20m to clear the danger.
UCLAN could not cope with the Lynx’s strong forward drives through the likes of ‘Chorley’ Ben Roscoe and our own birthday boy Daniel ‘Killer’ Percival, which led to mistake after mistake in defence. When they did get the ball they would try to force the issue, leading to a quick turnover, a lot of arguing and an increasingly irritated referee.
Lancaster could not get over the try line and UCLAN punished them as they often do in this league. A mistake in defence in the 15th minute, forced by a successful UCLAN hand-off, led to a big break by the UCLAN no. 12 which made the score 4-0.
This set the scene for the remainder of the first half. Lancaster would try and build pressure on what was a creaking UCLAN defence, before a silly defensive mistake from Lancaster during a UCLAN set saw breakaway try after breakaway try rain down upon them. With a few minutes to go in the first half, Lancaster were 24-0 down. That was until Boyers decided enough was enough. Lynx’s forward dominance finally started to make a difference with Percival driving the ball in, which drew four UCLAN defenders in. Boyers attempted a kick out wide, which got charged down. He caught it, dummied and sliced his way through the defence to make it 24-6.
From then on it really was all Lancaster. Six minutes into the second half, Lancaster’s very own ‘Italian Stallion’ Giacamo Carlucci managed to channel his aggression from a certain Roma-Lazio Derby into crashing over the try line to make it 24-10. The comeback was on. Even with players at unusual positions, some making their debuts, and injuries taking their toll, the Lynx continued to pressurise, with a Simon ‘Romeo’ Vale scoot even attracting seven UCLAN players, desperately trying to get one of the many rampant Lynx forwards down.
The pressure took its toll when on the 52nd minute a certain Mr. S. Hitout was held up over the line. The referee quite rightly sent us back ten, but Boyers played quick to Matty ‘Squirrel’ Canavan to make it 24-16. Lancaster continued trying to force the issue, with the referee quite rightly keeping the penalty count one-sided in the Lynx’s favour. However injuries started to take their toll and UCLAN started to demonstrate why having a rest-week before a big game is often a big advantage. They started to turn the screw on what had become a tired Lynx outfit. Two scores in quick succession from UCLAN saw the game finish at 36-16. But despite the difference in scores, everyone from 1 to 19 gave their all and should be proud of themselves. Notable mentions go to the Man of the Match, Jacob ‘Chuckie’ Ashton-Brookes, and also to the referee who did a fantastic job in managing some challenging situations.