UEL edged out by rugby rivals
17:00 21 January 2014
Rugby: UEL 3 Essex University 5
UEL’s men’s rugby squad returned to action after the Christmas break but failed to get back to winning ways with defeat to the University of Essex’s second string in West Ham.
Since their victory over Kent III in mid-November, East London have been knocked out of the BUCS Cup and not won either of their last two league games, including a shock defeat to bottom side, London Metropolitan.
And their poor run continued when Essex pipped them to victory at a rain-sodden Memorial Park, with the solitary try proving to be the difference.
UEL remain top of South Eastern 4B, but would fall to second if Kings College IV win their game in hand next week.
Both teams struggled with the conditions early on and phases of play were cut short by frequent handling errors and players losing their footing.
UEL began to settle on their home turf, however, and after a sustained period of pressure they scored their only points of the match when Rahul Gurung kicked a straight-forward penalty with 15 minutes on the clock.
But their lead lasted little over five minutes when some intelligent play from Essex scrum-half Alex Weir put the away side ahead.
With numbers short on the left wing, Weir chased his own grubber-kick through the UEL back-line and managed to ground the ball for the try.
Essex failed to extend their lead, though, as Fareed Fletcher-Lord’s conversion succumbed to the wind, leaving only two points between the teams.
The East Londoners looked far more dangerous in the second-half but the heavier Essex pack caused them problems at the scrum.
With the scrum not working, UEL looked to create from the back and winger Nicholas Spence managed to get over the try-line midway through the half, but his foot went into touch in the process.
UEL never went close after Spence’s chance and the visitors managed to see out the match and pick up the win.
UEL’s next fixture is a huge encounter with Kings College 4th, who could be top by the time the sides meet on January 29.
UEL, pen: R Gurung.
Essex, try: Weir.