Photos: Philip Mourdjis
JAMES 1STS made the perfect start to the spring term with a crushing win over Alcuin in wintery conditions on 22 Acres.
After a morning of college football cancellations due to heavy frost, it was decided that this fixture would go ahead. Neither team were able to field a full 15, so it was decided to make it a ten-a-side game, playing 20 minutes each way – an improvement, at least, on Saturday’s cancelled match between Derwent and Goodricke.
Charlie Burton’s James team ran in four tries of real quality in a rampant first half. Alcuin responded well after the break, but were unable to get on the scoreboard, as in the dying embers of the game, James were able to punish them for their profligacy.
The reds got off to a bad start from the first whistle as the ball found its way into the hands of James’ Alex Renwick, who shrugged off several weak challenges to go down in the corner within the first minute.
A scrappy period of play ensued as Alcuin tried to secure a sustained period of possession, but they were unable to clear their lines. Ed Pallister came away with the ball for James and seemed destined to score himself, but he had to settle for an assist, offloading under pressure to Patrick Mayer for a simple finish. Two more tries followed after some desperately half-hearted Alcuin defending to leave the scoreline looking ominous at half-time.
Alcuin could easily have folded and let the James try-count slip into double figures, but it was a strong testament to the bravery of Sonny Dewfall’s injury-plagued squad that they played with greater gusto after the interval. The ball rarely left Alcuin’s territory in the first period, but they came close to a try at the start of the second half, before being undone by a knock-on just metres out.
James eventually rediscovered their earlier rhythm, and Renwick had his second try of the afternoon as he strolled over the line. Time and again, Alcuin, led by the endeavour of Joe Wareing at the breakdown, tried to respond, only to see James’ pace prove too much for their back-line.
Mayer scored his second following a quick tap-and-go penalty. Matt Stehrenberger scored in the final few seconds to bring the final score to 48-0 and complete the rout.
A satisfied James captain Burton told Vision: “It was a successful game for us. We’ve got a lot of respect for Alcuin and we’re pleased to come away with a great result in such tough conditions. Charlie Forley was outstanding, he made a huge number of tackles. We can’t wait for the next game against Halifax.”
Alcuin captain Dewfall stated: “There are a lot of positives despite the defeat. We had a lot of players missing today and the conditions were really tricky. The second half performance was a lot better, we won’t let today define our season.”