There was electricity in the air as KCL met the Godless Scum of UCL in the culmination of the 2017 London Varsity Series at Allianz Park. The booze was flowing, the crowd was raucous, and the weather had taken a turn for the worse, setting the stage for what would prove to be a thrilling match. KCL ran out in front of thousands of fans eager for a thrilling match and a glimpse of fly half George Beal’s aesthetic wrist tape. In both respects, they were rewarded.
The two teams traded blows for much of the first half and were dead even in open play and set pieces alike. For every line break that KCL enjoyed, UCL responded with relentless pressure on defense and well-placed clearance kicks. UCL would strike first, capitalizing on a KCL penalty to slot a goal between the posts. The Godless Scum would tack on a try in the far corner before the half expired, leaving the score at 8-0 at halftime. Penalties would prove costly for King’s, as the boys would eventually go down 11-0 before beginning a furious comeback. Just a short while after UCL scored their second penalty goal of the night, Welshman Owen Hughes responded with a cracker of a try in the far corner to make it 11-5. With UCL responding with a try of their own after, the pressure was now on KCL to make something happen.
Despite a late try from Social Secretary Extraordinaire Jack Hall and a last-minute push from the boys in red, the Godless Scum of UCL proved to be too much. Final score, 16 UCL – 10 KCL, producing a feeling akin to what I experienced upon waking up the morning after Election Day 2016. King’s was left to look on as the UCL stand emptied onto the pitch, but made sure to thank the KCL faithful and get some high-quality profile pictures in their varsity kits. The boys returned to their makeshift changing room and were greeted by a belligerent 2nds captain Finbar Tilford, a welcome sight for those who had just left their hearts on the field. Any hard feelings from the loss were quickly dispelled, as the night ahead promised champagne showers and endless pints.
In spite of the loss, optimism could be found among the KCL squad. Strong rugby was played throughout the match, and though the loss was cutting, it provided ample motivation for 1st and 2nd year boys to take into next year’s Varsity match. As for the 3rd years, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. KCL will look to build on the positives in their final match of the year against the medics of GKT in the Macadam Cup.