Old Cooperians return after 19 months with win over Kings Cross Steelers
- Credit: Old Cooperians
After a 19-month wait and possibly the longest pre-season in the history of the game, rugby returned to St Mary's as Old Cooperians sealed a 25-10 against Kings Cross Steelers.
There was a lot of excitement around the ground as you would expect and this was replicated on the pitch.
Old Cooperians got off to a positive start controlling play and territory.
A solo effort to open the scoring from winger Tom Knight was controversially disallowed. This affected the home side and they spent the next 15 minutes having to defend.
Credit to the squad, as the 15 minutes of pressure only resulted in King Cross coming away with a penalty and a three-point lead.
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Old Cooperians were guilty of butchering a couple of chances but took the lead into half time when a break from Barnie Moul led to Andy Dennis scoring out wide to take a narrow 5-3 lead into the halftime break.
But some problem-solving at halftime seemed to work for Coops as they hit Steelers for two tries in the opening five minutes of the half.
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Knight was first on the scoreboard, closely followed by vice captain Tom Scott.
Old Cooperians tried to push on and were unfortunate to have a further two scores disallowed by the referee.
Just like the first half, this seemed to reignite the Steelers, who hit back with a converted try.
But the belief in the Old Cooperians squad was clear to see and with 10 minutes left to play, a pinpoint cross-field kick from Tony Bly resulted in Archie Duke scoring his first league try for the club.
Bly went on to add a penalty in the closing moments to ensure victory for Old Cooperians.
Next week Old Cooperians travel to Upminster and will be looking to make it two bonus-point wins on the bounce.
Director of rugby at Old Cooperians, Andy Yarrow, said: "It's great to see the sport back after Covid.
"The pandemic has affected people in so many ways and having rugby back as an outlet is great to see.
"I was happy with the performance. If you think we left at least 15 points out there due to refereeing decisions then the score line could have been even more impressive.
"The long pre-season has given us a chance to really create a culture and style of play that the players are buying into.
"There is a lot of potential in this group, but we must stay mentally switched on throughout.
"I am excited to see how we go next week away at local rivals Upminster."