UGRFC v RAF: Match Report


A last-ditch try from winger Max Kelly was too little too late for University of Gloucestershire rugby – as they came up just a single point short against an RAF development team.

In a game of two halves, UoG were fast out of the blocks, registering their first try in the opening minutes, after quick ball from the base of a solid scrum was shipped wide, to leave winger Max Kelly unopposed to score his first in the corner. A tough conversion sailed just wide of the uprights.

Inside the opening ten-minutes, the home side looked threatening every time the ball was passed wide, but a series of handling errors from both sides signalled a nervy start.

The visitors really struggled to get a foothold in the game in the first half, as Glos created more chances through the backs. The best of these chances broke to centre Miles Fletcher, who showed great spacial-awareness to find the gap and break towards the try-line. However, the resulting pass didn’t quite fall for Max Larkins, and the visitors escaped without conceding on this occasion.

Following twenty-minutes of relentless pressure from the home side it finally came together, as a penalty kick and a chance to clear their lines missed touch, leaving ample time and space for the ball to be sprayed quickly across the field and Max Larkins to crash over in the corner for UGRFC’s second try. A beautiful conversion from the touch-line struck by Gavin Dean, added the extra two, extending his team’s lead to twelve points.

It took almost half-hour for the away side to mount their first threatening attack, but another handling error at a key moment summed up a frustrating first thirty for them.

Following their lack of success in trying to get the ball away from the danger-zone, the RAF decided to keep the ball in hand and run it away from their twenty-two. This proved a much more fruitious option, as against the run of play, a kick-and-chase sat up perfectly for full-back Ryan Crowley who with the help of some quick footwork, touched-down under the posts for a seven-point score.

UGRFC headed into half-time with just a five-point advantage, meaning the RAF were still well with in reach.

A regroup during the break was much-needed for the visitors, who came out looking like a different side. They put the home defence under considerable pressure and managed to get over the whitewash only to be held up by a superb defensive effort.

Then came the indiscipline, which Glos head coach Chris Downes described post-match as what “cost us the game”. The visitors were awarded a penalty, which was easily converted, to bring them within two.

Centre Fletcher then gave his opponents a scare, as he read and intercepted a pass, to dot down for five. Unfortunately for him, a penalty advantage against his side was already being played and the referee brought play back, much to the relief of the away team.

Larkins, who had a superb game at thirteen, left the field with a shoulder injury – and we wish him all the best with his recovery.

Heading into the final ten UoG conceded another penalty, which was converted from 40m, to give the RAF a one-point lead for the first time.
To add more misery to the University, another try was scored, taking the game out of reach with just one score.

In the dying minutes Max Kelly added another try to his tally, but it was too little too late for the Uni side, who agonisingly ended the game a single-point behind at 19-20.

Despite the loss, there was plenty for UGRFC to be positive about. A great performance for a side who were playing their first game together – including three freshers making their University debuts – Jacob White, Matt Healey and Callum River-Cole.

The squad now have a great foundation to build on ahead of their first regular season match, against Plymouth.

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