26th October 2017, 14:45 | university
St Mary’s registered their third win of the season with an impressive 32-18 victory over Gloucestershire at a sunny Strawberry Hill. There was little to choose between the sides in a tough first 40 minutes but the home side dominated the second half.
The visitors, who impressed in their draw at Loughborough last week, proved tough opponents in the opening exchanges. But after 15 minutes St Mary’s broke the deadlock launching an attack from deep in their own half. They moved the ball right where Will Buckingham slipped a neat pass to Josh Robson and the wingman left a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake on a 50-metre sprint to the line.
Rhys Joel made it 6-0 with the conversion but Gloucestershire fought hard to get back on terms. They eventually turned pressure into points when Ben Stead followed up a neat grubber kick to the line to touchdown and levelled the scores with the conversion.
They went ahead six minutes later when, after forcing a goal line drop out, Luke Stephens burrowed his way over from close range and Stead added the extras to make it 12-6.
However late in the half, the home side hit back. Following a penalty near the Gloucestershire line they moved the ball from right to left. The move seemed to have faltered when a defender looked to intercept but he was unable to hang on to the ball, which was moved smartly to wing Donovan Noble who squeezed over by the corner flag.
Joel converted magnificently from the touchline and then added a penalty on the stroke of half-time to send his team in with a 14-12 lead.
The home side increased their lead early in the second half when the hard-working Charlie Green forced his way over with Joel converting. St Mary’s began to dominate proceedings; defending well and taking the chances that came their way.
After the visitors gave away a series of penalties near their own line Eric Sims went over and Joel added another after good work from Greene.
Gloucestershire were guilty of coughing up possession in good scoring positions and not completing their sets. St Mary’s wrapped up proceedings when Ellis Staines touched down but the visitors had the final say with a try from Josh Verity, converted by Stead.
St Mary’s head coach Jenny Morris said: “I was very happy with the performance today given Gloucestershire’s result last week. The team dug in and worked hard.”