Sports Scholar Hollie Cunningham taking on Bristol defence
The Double Header – South West Derby & North vs South – EURFC Light up Sandy Park
In a first-of-its-kind fixture held at the Exeter Chiefs home ground Sandy Park, EURFC played host to close neighbours, University of Bristol Women’s 1st XV and then most northerly Super BUCS Rugby team University of Northumbria. With well over 2000 spectators in attendance the green machine was well oiled and ready to put on a show.
The University of Exeter Women’s 1st team leapt to an 85-10 victory against University of Bristol running in 13 tries against a competitive Bristol side. Zoe Heeley, Ebony Jefferies and Sian Jeffreys took 2 tries a piece in a strong outing for the Exeter girls at Sandy Park. This built on their performance from the previous week against Oxford and was the start of their preparation for their next BUCS fixture away to Cardiff Met on Wednesday 24th October. Exeter currently sit top of Premier South and having taken the BUCS Championship in a thrilling match against Hartpury University Centre at Twickenham last year, they will be hoping to compete for the title again this season.
University of Exeter Women’s Rugby Club Captain Katie Leitch commented "Having the opportunity to play at Sandy Park the home of the Exeter Chiefs was a huge step forward for ladies rugby and a great honour for the club. This was the first time we had the chance to play at a premiership club with excellent home support which ended in a great win against a strong Bristol team. There has been a number of Double Headers between the Tyrrells Premier 15s and the Gallagher Premiership Rugby teams in the last few weeks and excellent to see this happening at University levels too".
With the Women’s 1st XV setting the tone and the standard, the men faced tough opposition against Team Northumbria who were coming into the fixture unbeaten, with tight victories over University of Bath and Hartpury University Centre.
A competitive start to the match saw Exeter capitalise on a dog legged defence with Sam Morley showing a clean pair of heels before putting half back partner Pierre Thompson away to take the first try of the game. From there it was a tense half with both sides showing endeavour and proving why they finished 1st (Exeter) and 2nd (Northumbria) in last year’s BUCS Super Rugby league. It wasn’t until Issac Hydleman showed an inspired counter attack from a deep Northumbria clearance, beating several defenders and then finding Pierre Thompson in a text-book 2 on 1 to canter in for his second of the game, that Exeter pulled further ahead and led 14-3. Northumbria fought back before half time when a well worked maul saw their blindside flanker break from the maul and score. Exeter managed to make their way to the away teams try line but failed to convert again before the half time whistle, leaving the score 14-10 at the break.
A dazzling half time performance from the Exeter Emeralds kept the energy high during the break and Exeter did not fail to come out with a bang! Charlie ‘Chopper’ Davies opened the flood gates within the first minute of the second half, after another break and offload from Issac Hyldleman. However, it was by no mean feat that Exeter ran in a further 4 tries, Josh Pieterse proving to be an unstoppable force from 5 metres out took a brace before he was replaced earning himself a well-earned rest and the team a further 14 points. Sal M’Boge made a big impact coming off the bench picking a support line that led to his first try and extended Exeter’s lead. Northumbria did show why they are amongst the top teams in the league, by working two scores from broken play that were applauded by all neutrals and rugby enthusiasts alike.
With the final score 45-24 in Exeter’s favour, Director of Rugby Keith Fleming was extremely pleased with the progress the team had made from the previous week’s away defeat to Durham. “The team executed what we had worked on in the build up to tonight extremely well and to beat Northumbria like we have tonight in front of a big home crowd is what we wanted to achieve.”
With the BUCS season well underway for both the women’s and men’s sides it is set to be another exciting and competitive year for EURFC.
Date: 24 July 2018