College rugby final: Derwent 64-0 Alcuin
Derwent win the College Rugby Championship by annihilating Alcuin
Photos: TK Rohit
Derwent ran ten tries past a depleted Alcuin side to claim the College Rugby Championship on Wednesday.
Despite discussion over whether or not the game should go ahead due to an accumulation of injuries, both captains finally agreed in the spirit of the sport that it would.
With Derwent winning by a large margin in the league game last term, Alcuin had something to prove in the XV format, a win though against them in the 10′s tournament the week-end before gave the Red team confidence going into the final.
With both teams regular fly-halves being sidelined with knocks, Derwent’s Phil Hammick kicked off the final.
Jamie Criswell looked dangerous on the wing early on. His powerful runs finally came to fruition as he added to his try tally this season by bundling over in the corner for an early Derwent lead.
Alcuin earlier on were playing phase ball through the forwards and looking to hold on to possession. This was demonstrated in fly-half’s Alex Cormack kicking opting for high up-and-unders attempting to win back possession.
Derwent’s territorial game was working though. As they soon doubled their lead, Chris Judge from a quickly taken penalty was merely unstoppable from close range.
The day would get better for the prop but in the meantime teammate Hammick was forcing pressure upon his opponents with some monumental place kicking.
From another superior position on the pitch, scrum-half Henry Guest found room in the Alcuin defence and wriggled his way through to the try line.
Alcuin were unable to assert themselves on the match and on the scoreboard. Will Vignoles winning back possession at the lineout started the initiative to another Derwent move, which namesake Will Harnden finished off. He found room to leave his opposite number on the floor and him running in under the posts. The conversion was duly despatched by Hammick.
Hammick kept the scoreboard ticking, with a penalty from a similar position to his last kick, before allowing centre Dom Munns to notch a penalty of his own from a monumental distance to end the half 28 points up.
The second half Alcuin showed commendable spirit, as they had to readjust their team. Sonny Dewfall and Alex Wilson made a makeshift 10-12 partnership, but even they could not quell the tide of Derwent attacks.
Will Vignoles finished off a fine try at the start of the second half. The giant lock collected the ball to score his first try of the season after it had gone through a number of Derwent hands down the left flank.
This try was bettered then by a sensational individual effort from Jamie Criswell. From the kick-off, the teams top try scorer showcased his all-round ability by finding space before running most of the pitch to score a sensational try.
It sparked a response from Alcuin’s forward heavy team. A period of pressure saw the Red pack smashing into their opponents. However, Derwents defence held firm, as the attack was held up and the threat was cleared.
In fact it was the side from the smaller college who ended the better. Alex Cochrane Dyet showing again his predatory instinct with ball in hand to score under the posts.
Jamie Criswell then capped off a fine performance scoring his hat-trick and his tenth of the season.
With minutes remaining on the clock, Alex Littlechild finished off a sterling forwards try as he powered over the touchline to complete the final win.
The final whistle was met by jubilant celebrations from the side in blue who have gone unbeaten in the XV’s rugby all season.
For Alcuin, they can look back on a successful season, performances of camaraderie took them to this seasons final and will help develop the team next year.
While Derwents ‘Golden Era’ keeps on delivering, newly appointed captain Chris Judge inherits a team that is unbeaten in the XV’s format since a 14-34 defeat to the College of Law back in November 2010.
Outgoing Derwent captain Tolga Necar commented after the game which capped a hugely successful season: “The lads have had an outstanding season and deserve all the success they’ve had.” On Alcuin: “They played really well considering the adverse conditions their squad was put into playing the match.”
Before handing over the captaincy to Chris Judge, he said: “It has been an honour to captain a great group of guys over the course of this season. There is a serious amount of potential in the first and second years for them to continue their winning run next year.”