Barnet and Southgate Push Oaklands to the Limit

18th November 2014

This week Barnet and Southgate traveled the short distance to rugby powerhouse Oakland College in Hatfield to take on their second XV in the British College’s Rugby Union league. After an outstanding result down in Richmond the week before the BCS boys traveled in buoyant spirits but were well aware of the challenge that they faced from their notoriously tough Oaklands opponents.

The challenge was made even tougher with a number of injuries to key players really testing the depth of the squad. In the week leading up to the game coaches Matt Cuss and Josh Ward had outlined the challenge that presented itself at Oaklands, but also how excited the boys should be at testing themselves against a college with such a fantastic college rugby pedigree.

Unlike previous fixtures the BSC boys started the brighter of the two sides and were tactically excellent as they forced Oaklands back into their own 22 time and time again. Barnet’s pressure defensive game was superb as Oaklands began to force the play and made errors, resulting in the majority of the first half being contested in their own half. The pressure began to tell and Barnet’s full back Alex McCall kicked a long range penalty to give the BSC boy’s a well-deserved lead.

The first 20 minutes produced some of the best rugby that the Barnet boys had played all season, with their edge defence superb against an accurate and fast Oaklands backline. However as the game went on, Oaklands began to get a foothold into the game and BSC conceded a number of penalties that saw Oaklands cross out wide after an extended period of pressure.

With half-time approaching the tide had definitely turned and the referee began to favour the team from Oaklands and this resulted in BSC’s Middlesex County number 8 Ben Duncan being sinbinned for persistent team infringement. Oaklands made the extra man count straight away as they crossed for a relatively easy try under the posts which their fly half converted. The half-time score was 14-3 in favour of the home side.

The half-time team talk from coaches Josh Ward and Matt Cuss focused on reducing their penalty count and keeping playing rugby in the right areas. For the first 15 minutes of the second half it seemed this half-time team talk worked and the Barnet and Southgate College boys struck first through another long range penalty from full back Alex McCall. McCall had a superb day with the boot, kicking all his points and booming the BSC boys downfield from each penalty.

In almost a carbon copy of the first half, as the game hit final quarter, Oaklands began to exert more and more pressure and really took control of the game. They crossed for their third try through a well worked scrum move and it was well finished in the corner by their replacement winger, this try was unconverted though and the score remained at 19-6.

This was to prove to be the final score of the game, and Oaklands breathed a sigh of relief as the referee sounded the final whistle on what was a really entertaining game. Despite the result the BSC boys played some fantastic rugby again, putting multiple phases together in attack and being very aggressive in defence. Next up for Barnet and Southgate is an away fixture to West Suffolk College this Wednesday with a 1pm KO.

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