Match Report
Royal Hospital School 1st XV vs  The Perse Upper School
On: Saturday, 04 Nov 2017
Venue: at Home

The 1st XV were determined to put right the frustrations of the narrow loss to Oundle before half term. However, the rugby hangover continued as a lack of composure and inaccurate decision making saw the team slip to a 10-20 loss against a more than competent Perse side.

The early stages of the match saw momentum ebb and flow. The Perse dominated territory but a smart break by Ben Arulampalam almost led to a try for RHS, alas Jordan Milburn's excellent support line wasn't spotted and as the ball was passed the other way The Perse defence scrambled back to deny the home side. Both sides must be credited for putting on a fast paced and entertaining game with the physicality a significant feature. The line speed of The Perse was putting pressure on RHS and from a knock on, the away side made a break from the scrum (after a lapse of concentration saw the defensive positioning awry) however some good last ditch tackling ensured a lineout to RHS in their own 22. But as error compounded error, an inaccurate lineout routine saw the ball end up in Perse hands and two missed tackles later the away side scored a try almost under the posts (0-7). A miscued restart then gifted The Perse yet more prime field position and they were back on the front foot. They kicked a penalty (0-10) before creating another score in the corner (0-15). The signs were ominous for RHS, especially having lost Elliot Rayment to a thigh injury, however, showing good character, the boys battled back and on the stroke of half time Toby Okechukwu took matters into his own hands as he came off his wing and then took a quick tapped penalty before bursting through two would-be tacklers and accelerating away to score an opportunist try in the corner. A valiant conversion attempt by Kieran Farrer just drifted wide so RHS had to settle for a 5-15 deficit at the break.

The second half was a stop start affair as both teams kept the referee's whistle to his mouth. The Perse scored a third try (5-20) and looked to be cruising to victory. The RHS cause was hampered further as Farrer had to leave the field after lengthy treatment due to a head injury. But to give the boys their due, RHS rolled up their sleeves and battled back. Some strong runs by the forwards gained ground and when the ball was delivered to the back 3 they looked extremely dangerous. This improved intensity was rewarded as Zac Puckey scored (10-20) with 10 minutes or so left on the clock. The game was back in the balance, albeit advantage The Perse. Try as they may RHS could not execute cleanly as various half chances were created and balls were needlessly kicked into the hands of grateful defenders.

The game ended 10-20 and The Perse were worthy victors. However the RHS team did not help their own cause as they reflected on the mistakes which had allowed their opponents an additional advantage. The aim now is to find the confidence which will allow the team to play with the flair and intensity we know they are capable of.