CURL-y WURL-y. Game Over Early.
Warwick finally managed to get the first of three derby matches against Coventry sorted and it was to take place at Fortress Cryfield. WURL were looking to build on positive home results the previous 2 weeks while Coventry came in off the back of a 70-10 win over Derby. So both sides were confident as kick off approached. The WURL side had been boosted by the late confirmation of Pete Ryan and Joe Spencely being available to play at prop so this was comfortably the biggest forward pack Warwick had seen all season. Due to the threat from the Coventry forwards, Wales Students' George Edge made the long move from international wing to university loose forward.
The game kicked off and WURL immediately began to put pressure on the Coventry attack. It wasnt long before strong carries from the forwards created space out wide for Brad Sheridan and Adam Cox to feed Tom Palmer to dive in in the corner and it was 4-0. Coventry hit back quickly and managed to force their way through the middle of the Warick defence from short range. Somehow, the conversion from about 3 metres wide of the right hand upright grazed the outside edge of the left post to leave the score at 4-4. After a few very strong early carries, Pete Ryan decided that the rest of team had everything under control and chose to spend the remainder of the match on the sideline after injuring his ankle. His judgement was revealed to be true as a short chip from 10 metres out from Brad Sheridan was collected by Tom for his second try to make the score 8-4. It was WURL who got the next score too as some crisp play in the middle left Yousif Shehabi with space out wide and he found a gap to be left with a 3 on 1 against the Coventry full back. In order to control our president's ego, he chose not to pass to Tom out wide and cut inside to race past the floundering defender to go under the posts and it was 14-4. As half time approached, an accumulation of penalties helped Warwick march up the pitch before Jacob Hewson forced his way through in the final play of the first period to give WURL a healthy 18-4 lead at the interval.
The second half began in similar fashion as Coventry were immediately put under pressure. From 5 metres out, Pierre-Louis Cuminet tried to sneak in but was held up by one of the coventry forwards. Fortunately, instead of dragging him out, he decided to haul him over the try line before forcing him to the floor and the ball was grounded and the lead was extended to 20 points. 5 minutes later, some solid Coventry defence had pinned Warwick inside their own 40 and on 5th tackle were ready to collect a deep kick and run back the ball with venom. What they weren't expecting was the delicate chip over the defence which was collected on the full by Yousif who beat the full back again to canter under the posts and it was 30-4 and the game seemed safe. Coventry managed to cause some brief nerves with a quick response to make it 30-10 after WURL chose to look the wrong way after conceding a penalty 10 metres out from their own line. The lapse in concentration was brief and the home side were soon within striking distance of the opposition try line. Captain George Edge was running what he thought was a loud dummy line when the pop pass from Joe Spencely deceived both him and the defence. After juggling the ball while doing an entirely unnecessary pirouette, he found himself in open space and sprinted through and it was 36-10. The next try was a surprise to everyone. After his impressive steal in the tackle last week to help Warwick hold on against Oxford, 5ft 2 Pierre again found himself in a one on one tackle with a significantly larger opponent. He then nonchalantly tore the ball from his grasp and strolled under the post in an almost unbelievable display of his cliche laid-back frenchness. At 42-10 Warwick felt it was time for another lapse in concentration as two consecutive penalties let Coventry burrow under a couple of tackles to make it 42-16. From kick off, Joe Spencely spotted a gap out wide and Brad found it with ease and when the ball bobbled in to touch, WURL had a scrum 20 metres out. Troy called from the sideline for Joe to be subbed off but he hadn't finished yet. From the scrum, Joe and Brad had discussed a grand plan but unfortunately didnt tell anyone else so it didnt come to fruition. However, Joe collected the ball 15 metres out in front of the post and decided to drop the goal before turning and trotting off to the sideline with his afternoon finished. Yousif then scored again (we scored too many for me to remember all of them so just assume it was brilliant. I'll update this later if someone reminds me how it happened). With the score 49-16, the home side thought that the adoring crowd that had come to watch deserved to witness a half century. Some quick hands from Freddie Brown and Zak Clarke down a narrow channel down the right hand touchline sent Tom Palmer in to finally collect his hat trick.
The final score was 55-16 and it was no less than the side deserved from a dominant display. The forwards fronted up despite facing a strong opposition pack and suffering game-ending injuries to 3 props in the first 41 minutes. Then the backs took advantage of the space provided to gain a comfortable win. There were many candidates for man of the match after some scintillating attack from across the field but after adding a couple of try saving tackles to his hat trick, Yousif was the obvious candidate. WURL go on to next week with a home game against Nottingham and will be looking to avenge their opening day defeat.