EURFC scored four tries to win 29 - 6 over a beleaguered Bath. Image courtesy of Exeposé

Exeposé Sports Editor Will Kelleher's Varsity Report

What a way to end the regular season for EURFC. The 1st XV produced an accomplished performance on Wednesday night to send Bath packing, ruing their luck after their third successive Sandy Park Varsity defeat.

Conditions were always going to play their part and certainly the first half suffered due to the wet, foggy atmosphere and bog-like pitch. The intense pressure of playing in front of an expectant and vociferous crowd coupled with the weather made sure that the first period would become a no holds barred midfield battle. For the initiated, the first 40 minutes were tense and, dare I say, exciting but could be seen as slow and dull for the newcomer.

Neither side could wrestle control of proceedings in the first half and the only real points scoring was physical rather than numerical. Bath were intent on playing a slow, grinding and narrow game hoping to grind Exeter down until they ran out of ideas. It looked as though this might work as the game neared half time as muddled decision making, opting not to turn their territorial advantage into points, by Exeter made sure Bath went into the break a sole penalty ahead.

Varsity will always have big collisions and players will demonstrate a never-back-down attitude so it was great shame to see Club Captain Bertie Haskins limp off with a foot injury after 32 minutes. His replacement, Sinel, last season’s winning try scorer, however, had an instant impact. His first scrum was superb as EURFC marched Bath back 20 metres and won the penalty.

The AU clubmen and especially the EURFC members vociferous support was unwavering throughout, surely adding wind to the Exeter sails.

If the first half was an attritional battle the second was an attacking slaughter as Exeter, no doubt buoyed by half-time words, came out with upped intensity and went for the jugular from the outset. Bath were unable to cope with the speed of Exeter’s attacking play after the break and conceded early after a superb piece of two-on-one play by scrum half Rob Coote to feed Bain who finished well in the corner.

Bath constantly tried to slow Exeter’s momentum but the referee was hot on their tail reaching for her yellow card on no less than three occasions. This was very costly as Chisholm’s chip and Gray’s charge down put the men in green in an unassailable lead.

The second period proved that the first was worth it. Exeter capitalised as Bath wilted before their eyes. When Claxton touched down for Exeter’s fourth you felt that the final whistle couldn’t come sooner for the visitors. Full-back Ali Chisholm will take the plaudits for a complete performance but credit must go to the work of the forwards in the first half in grinding Bath down so that the second half onslaught was possible.

Exeter have now won all three of their Sandy Park Varsity fixtures and end the normal BUCS season unbeaten on their own turf, a fantastic achievement. The 1st XV’s season does not end here however as they have now secured a home draw in the play-offs. If they perform as well as they have done all season Exeter could be making a rare trip to rugby HQ, Twickenham to play in the BUCS final.

It has been a fantastic season for the club all told. The 2nd XV are currently two points clear at the top of the Western 1A league with four fixtures left in the campaign. Exeter also are dominating the Western 2A league with the 3rd and 4th XV BUCS teams first and third respectively as of this week. EURFC’s 5th XV, otherwise known as the mighty Flair XV, have four matches to secure promotion, with only three points separating them and breaking into the top two. Finally the 6th XV, the second fresher XV have won all five of their BUCS fixtures so far.

With many of the 1st XV gaining higher honours this season and some top performances throughout the club EURFC has plenty to shout out, none more so than: Exeter 29 Bath 6. The threepeat complete. Well done boys.

Will Kelleher, Sports Editor Exeposé

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Date: 19 February 2013