Men’s football firsts faced Bath in a crunch game between the bottom two sides at the end of the Premier South regular season. Speaking beforehand coach Danny Potter said, “We’ve got to make the most of the home advantage. If the boys perform and show the right attitude we’ll get the win. If we don’t then we’ve got a mountain to climb in the play-offs.
“We started off this season really well but let ourselves down a bit and it’s brought us to where we are today. We’ve got our stronger midfield boys back and that might make a difference. Two of them have been selected for England unis which is great.
“It’s do or die time now and we’ve got to leave everything out there. We were in this situation last year. We didn’t like it but we won the game and today I hope we learn from our mistakes, win the game and next year we don’t get in this situation again. But we’re a small uni in a very tough league and it’s very difficult performing against some of the bigger universities.”
Potter’s side began well. Barely ten minutes into the game a strong header from striker Iffy Onwuachu was deflected by a Bath defender into his own net. Then Lorenzo Dolcetti doubled the host’s lead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute.
Bath hit back though just before the break from close range. Onwuachu put the home side 3-1 before the visitors pulled one back. And there was a heartbreaking late equalizer in the 90th minute. WSIHE’s Prem fate is now in the hands of the play-offs.
The women’s football first team also played their last regular Premier South league game at home to Bath in a second versus third place clash. Hertfordshire had built an unassailable lead at the top of the league but WSIHE were guaranteed a runners-up spot whatever the result. When the sides met in the reverse fixture back in November Bath came out 3-1 winners and so it was to prove again this time. The score was level at 1-1 at the interval but the visitors hit two second half goals as WSIHE finished with ten players.
Women’s rugby were home to Canterbury Christ Church in a season defining game against a side that dished out a heavy defeat earlier on that derailed a good start to their campaign. Before the match coach Simon Carter said, “We’re looking alright. We’ve got a good team out. We’ve got some players that are coming back from injuries. We’ve had a good few weeks of training and the girls have come back from Christmas buzzing. There’s been a real energy at training. It feels like a play-off stage now. We know that the next two games are one-off games effectively. If we can sneak points from these then we’re back in the mix because we’ve got games in hand on them.
“We’ve got quite an inexperienced team in the sense of the amount of game time that some of the players have had so losing to Canterbury was quite a good step for some of them because we’d won the first few games relatively easily and they thought it was going to be quite an easy season. And then we’ve come up against two teams that sort of taught us a lesson so I think the girls are far more switched on to what’s coming now.
“We’ve worked on things where we know the opposition is going to be strong. We’re trying to shore up our defence a little bit. We just want to go out and play some rugby.”
Abi Hunt gave Carter’s side a dream start in the second minute when she burst down the right flank and over for a try that was converted.
WSIHE drove the ball close to the touchline 15 minutes later but Canterbury held firm. And then the hosts had chances on both sides.
The visitors started to apply pressure and got back into things in the 26th minute before Gemma Carter ran in another try after a flowing move down the left this time following good work from Amy Wrigglesworth to increase the lead to 12-5.
Canterbury hit back running in a second try just before the interval.
WSIHE found themselves behind sixteen minutes after the break when the pace of the Canterbury No.12 caused all sorts of problems. The same player was instrumental in the next try that took the score to 12-22, jinking past a number of players from the halfway line.
The home side got a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty try with ten minutes left that reduced the points-deficit to three.
Canterbury though worked both the ball and the clock smartly for a win that closes the gap on league leaders Royal Holloway and puts a bit more distance between them and WSIHE in third place.
Men’s rugby ones remain top in South Eastern 3A after beating Brighton whilst the twos lost 14-0 against Kent.
In netball the first team lost away at University College London, Brighton beat the twos and the fours lost to Surrey.
Men’s lacrosse suffered a 9-1 defeat against Sussex and the women were also beaten heavily by Royal Holloway.
Elsewhere, men’s basketball ones lost narrowly to Reading and men’s tennis, who are having a good season, beat Royal Holloway.
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