Trent’s male rugby squad took a well-deserved lead in the Varsity Cup after thrashing bitter rivals Nottingham University 18 – 5 at Meadow Lane on Tuesday evening.
NTU claimed a crucial advantage in the Varsity competition, taking the overall scores to 5 – 4 in their favour.
After supporters from both teams filled the sell-out stadium, it took Trent – playing in red and white – just four minutes to open the scoring when quick-footed number ten, Alex George, converted a penalty kick after he was fouled on the 22-metre-line.
The speedy forward caught his opponents – clothed in grey and green stripes – off guard once again just minutes later after latching onto an opposition’s miss-kick and running half the length of the pitch to slam the ball down in front of the rival fans.
Although Trent failed to make the proceeding conversion, the scores now laid at an impressive 8 – 0 just ten minutes into the game.
However Nottingham Uni hit back in quick succession kicking the ball forward and only some tough tackling from their challenger’s backline denied the toffs a try.
But just as the Beeston-based University thought they had found a clear path towards their opponent’s try line, Trent scrum-half, Will Cotterhill, pulled off an impressive interception, sprinting up the pitch and punting the ball through the posts for a drop-goal.
At the 20-minute-mark the score laid at 11 – 0 to Nottingham Trent.
Tempers boiled over at the half-an-hour mark after Trent winger Jack Frater conceded a penalty after swinging at rival Uni hooker, Jack Wheeler, who retaliated with a slap – unseen by the referee.
The resulting conversion missed and the crowd at the Trent end shouted emphatically in protest.
The scores remained 11 – 0 to the city centre-based University.
As 40-minutes approached the clock, Trent were able to quickly break away in numbers from a scrum at the half-way line.
An energetic flurry of precise passing broke down the Nottingham Uni backline as previous try-scoring hero, Alex George, ran through the goal-posts and touched the ball to the ground.
Trent couldn’t have asked for a better half and, with just a few seconds left on the clock, punted a curling conversion kick to increase the score line to a remarkable 18 – 0.
As the referee blew his whistle for halftime supporters of the team in front cheered and clapped their side off the field.
There was to be more action at the beginning of the second half when both sides returned to face each other once again.
However it was Nottingham Uni who made the brighter start and were able to take their first try of the match after some poor defending by their opponents.
When a long-ranged throw-on missed every player in the line-up, the ball came to Beeston scrum-half Dave Heads, who used his strength and pace to force the Trent defence backwards.
Although the boys in red and white initially managed to repel the attack, Nottingham Uni forwards found a way through their opposition’s leaky defence to the try-line with a slick bout of passing, slamming the ball to the ground.
The failed conversion kick – followed by jeers from the Trent fans – slightly closed the score line to 18 – 5.
The two teams were now evenly matched, with Nottingham Uni looking increasingly likely to get a breakthrough, but their rivals fiercely held on, trying to limit their mistakes.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock, the toffs were once again threatening to score after a precise line-out was won by Beeston forward, William Nelson, who pushed the Trent defence back just two-metres from the touchline.
However, Trent held on by the skin of their teeth and Nottingham Uni became even more desperate.
With the clock reading 40 minutes, both teams became broiled in fighting after confusion broke out when the referee called for the end of the game, only to carry on seconds later.
Finally, after more forceful jostling from the two sides, the whistle was blown and Trent were crowned champions of the 2010 Varsity rugby union.
The final score saw the superior Trent team beat rivals Nottingham University 18 – 5 in an enthralling high-velocity game.
Look out for the Varsity football match report next Monday only at Platform Online.