The University of Kent scored five tries beating the Canterbury Christ Church 36-0 in a thrilling Varsity Men’s 1st Rugby Match played at Canterbury Rugby Football Club’s ground.
On a gorgeous spring evening, sunlit and sky pasty blue, hundreds of students flocked to the stadium to cheer their boys on in one of the most popular matches during the Varsity calendar.
Christ Church (burgundy and turquoise) shut Kent (red and navy) right from kick-off, thanks to their high pressure and dominant forwards that had a strong showing at the breakdown of rucks.
Early chances went amiss as CCCU sought to expose the blindsides, pop-passing to gain the extra yards. A missed penalty in the 10th minute pilled further misery to CCCU. The remainder C4's match would be an uphill struggle as Kent sought to expose the opponent's lack of clinical finishing.
Kent made the breakthrough midway through the first half with the game’s opening try. The game saw a moment of brilliance from scrum-half Matt Barrel who fainted defenders at the breakdown with a fake pass and a stepover. Chipping the ball above CCCU’s full-back, Barrel dived to score the first of UKC's five tries.
As the first points made its way onto the scoreboard, Kent sought to assert their dominance. The sheer pace of winger Pete Wampamba was too much for CCCU, sliding to the try line for UKC’s second score of the game.
Despite the dominant performance, Kent was far from their best as the team was guilty of conceding several penalties throughout the fixture – from releasing the ball at rucks and straying offside, to not throwing the ball straight during lineouts.
CCCU had plenty of opportunities to get back into the game and take advantage of Kent’s mistakes. An illegal tackle from two UKC players awarded C4 with an opportunity to get back into the game; a 20-yard conversion just before the whistle blew. To no avail, Christ Church missed its second punt of the game. Half time: UKC 10 – 0 CCCU.
As the sunset in the Kentish countryside and the cold brewing, Kent came out raring to finish off CCCU’s hopes of a comeback. An excellent spiral kick from fly-half Alex Meads brought Kent closer to C4’s try line. An orchestrated line-out from UKC set the move up for a maul. The brute strength of forwards like prop Cam Rastall and Number 8 Matt Clow was too much for the opposition, as Kent walked into their third try of the fixture.
A third try came at a price for Kent, as 15 James Taylor came off injured with a broken tibia. Moments after, centre Iwan Irranca flew past the C4 defence with a fourth try and confirmed a victory for UKC for the second year in a row in this fixture.
Down and defeated, C4 sportingly carried on but additional scores from Irracca and Kuteyi rubbed further salt into their wounds of the polytechnic.
The final whistle blew to signify the end of the match, and the Kent crowd screamed with jubilation at the team’s successful performance. As with UKC tradition, the lads gathered to sing the song “I’m a Kentish lad” in celebration. A disappointing loss for the CCCU who put up a good fight in mixed conditions.