18th April 2019, 10:25 | university
England Universities put in a dominant display to kick their President's Cup campaign off with in a win over Great Britain Teachers. England's performance was composed throughout and, with a large number of new faces, the performance bodes well for a solid season. Great Britain Teachers, whilst outplayed on the scoreboard, looked threatening throughout and at regular intervals in the game put significant pressure on the student side, but ultimately were unable to turn this pressure into points.
Alex Eckley set the tone for the match, with the second rower running strongly from forty metres out to scythe through the Teachers defence with just three minutes on the clock and added his second three minutes later, crashing onto a short pass from Alex Bielby. Lewis Fairhurst added the conversion from out wide for the first attempt, but missed the easier shot following.
England put their foot down at playing at tremendous pace, Matthew Chrimes found space on the wing to complete a quick-fire passing move to score. Fairhurst was unable to convert.
The Teachers built pressure and Gavin Lightowler's testing kick into the in-goal area was fumbled by Errol Carter, allowing Ben Pulleyn to pounce, opening the Teachers' account. Lightowler pushed the conversion wide of the upright.
With the Teachers now in gear, both sides traded blows, with Andrew Joy impressing in the front row for England and Aidy Gleeson and Daniel Roberts taking some big drives for the Teachers.
Experience half-back Kieran Smith moved England ahead twenty-seven minutes into the half, with a jinking run to add a further try to his career tally but it seemed that Fairhurst had left his kicking boots at home, missing the simple conversion. Midlander Jacob Jones powered onto a short ball at the line shortly afterwards to edge England further ahead before the rock solid Caley Gray bounced off the defence to barge his way through for a try just before the break, Fairhurst converting both.
Half Time: 4-30
It would have been easy for England to put the cue in the rack at half time, but debutant Alex Smith was having none of it, having been introduced after the half time break, it took just one minute for the spritely half-back to dance through the defence to chalk up a try, giving Fairhurst an easy shot on goal.
Shortly afterwards, Carter made up for his earlier error, beating the corner flag to touchdown in the corner, the kick out of range for Fairhurst. Alex Smith added his second try from the next set, demonstrating the strength of forward to barge his way through, which Fairhurst did manage to convert.
Great Britain Teachers v England Universities | RFL Presidents Cup 2019 Round 1
As with the first half, the Teacher came alive and the next ten minutes was a solid display of end to end Rugby League, with both sides trading some solid defensive blows which was brought to an end when Carter scored his brace, ending a frantic dipsplay of passing and juggling the ball, Fairhurst again wide of the mark.
Another sustained ten minute period followed, showing the Teachers will be a solid challenge with experience of playing togther in their future games, but Eckley kept England moving forward adding his third of the night with ten minutes remaining, Fairhurst unable to add the extras.
But it was the Teachers who had the final word, with livewire fullback Jonny Oldridge catching the back of the student's class napping to grab a consolation try in the dying minutes. Lightowler was unable to add the extras, despite a strong kicking game throughout the match.
Final Score: 8-54
Great Britain Teacers: Jonny Oldridge, Daniel Fletcher, James Howard, Jake Dearden, Will Taylor, Gavin Lightowler, Ryan Martin, Aidy Gleeson, Liam Harnell, Daniel Roberts, James Jackson, Ben Pulleyn, Joe Ramsden. Interchanges: Tom Joyce, Evan Roberts, Sam Hardcastle, Daniel Patrice, Rob Kershaw, Phil Heath, Tom Heydon.
England Universities: Lewis Fairhurst, Matthew Chrimes, Sean Croston, Daniel Munt, Errol Carter, Alex Bielby, Kieran Smith, Andrew Joy, Tom Jubb, Daniel Gover, Alex Eckley, Jacob Jones, Ryan Langton. Interchanges: Nathan Taylor, Josh Boulger, Alex Smith, Callum Fletcher, Robert Branton, Craig Banks, Caley Gray.
Referee: Aaron Moore