Haileybury opened the season in style in front of a big crowd on Terrace as they beat St Edward’s Oxford 29-25.
Haileybury dominated the early exchanges and took a deserved 5-0 lead with a superb try from the outstanding Spencer Owen. Haileybury remained on top and looked as if they could run away with the game but St Edwards were dogged opponents and took the lead by scoring on every visit to the home side’s territory.
Two penalties gave the visitors a 6-5 lead, which knocked the maroon and whites confidence and they had to fight for every inch. Duncan Henderson scored from close range before the outstanding Ollie Moody finished off a fine team move to gallop over from 30m, leaving the half time score at 15-6 in the home side’s favour.
With the second half resuming, sloppy play Haileybury was punished and Teddies crossed for their first try to make it 15-11. Every time it looked as though the hosts would pull away their dogged opponents fought back to bring the game back into the balance.
The home team’s pack were magnificent and with Ollie Moody and Matt Cook imperious in the second row their line-out was dominating the game and they crossed for a penalty try.
Remarkably, Teddies fought back again to make it 22-18 with a converted try and the home side were beginning to doubt themselves. However with several opportunities from driving line-outs St Edward’s couldn’t take their chance as Cook and Moody continued to close them down at line-out time.
Haileybury were turning the screw up front and with a potent driving line-out and strong close quarter play, man of the match Kyle Douglas crossed. With his outstanding form he must be pushing for a starting place in the Saracens Academy team later in the year.
Teddies scored a converted try at the death to make it 29-25 to the team form Hertfordshire. With Haileybury rugby continuing to go from strength to strength, this was a perfect start to the season for them, a tough, uncompromising game that they managed to come out on the right side of.
Tireless captain Ed Harris said following the game:
“The boys put in a good shift but we will need to be better as we move through the season with some tough challenges to come starting with the Herts-Essex derby against Felsted next week.”
Full Time: Haileybury 29-25 St Edward’s, Oxford