The pitch was a bit heavy and the weather, despite being very sunny, still a bit cold; that, however, didn’t stop the players from an extremely competitive match in the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference, as Oregon State edged UBC 17-15.
The scoring was started by the Thunderbirds about midway through the first half. UBC was awarded a penalty kick after a breakdown infringement and took advantage for a 3-0 lead. Oregon State replied soon after. Through some evenly matched breakdowns at midfield, OSU got the ball recycled out to the backline to winger Mike Harnew who showed some speed and fancy footwork to give his team a 7-3 lead.
That wasn’t the end, though, as some poor execution from the Beavers backline on a counter kick return saw a UBC player pounce on the loose ball and scamper for a try and a 10-7 lead. Oregon State, again, countered on the ensuing passage with a turnover on a breakdown and strung together some passes before insider center Robert Kennedy managed to muscle the ball down in traffic for a 14-10 lead at halftime.
The second half was a duplicate of the first with competitive breakdowns and a few midfield skirmishes. UBC broke it open first with retained possession and scoring out wide through some poor tackling for a score of 15-14 with 25 minutes to play.
Oregon State made sure if they couldn’t get their hands on the ball, territorial progress was Plan B. Breakdown pressure forced key UBC penalties in their half and OSU took advantage. Flyhalf Nick Cutrell slotted the kick to put Oregon State up 17-15 with 15 minutes to play.
The last minutes of the match were nerve-racking for the both sides, but OSU team captain Mike Gamm kept his team under composure and confident. Minute after minute went by as both teams had their chances to convert, but neither could capitalize off one another. And in the end OSU held on for a 17-15 final.
“I couldn’t be happier with the collective pride in defense the boys showed in the last 15 mintues,” OSU head coach Anthony Lally said. “We are always looking to improve; set-piece was not great and structure is on an upward curve but still needs some work.”
Oregon State takes a few much need weeks off before taking on a very much improved Western squad at home to try to stay undefeated. UBC has the week off before hosting the WSU Cougars in Thunderbird stadium.
OSU improves to 2-0 in the NCRC league, while UBC drops to 1-1.