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2XV Promoted to BUCS Premier South 2!

Tobias Rees-Slawson scores a try in the 2XV's 10-28 win over USW 1XV 13/04/2024

Yesterday saw the 2XV take to the field for the final time in the 23/24 season, in their promotion playoff match facing the University of Kent in Canterbury, and ended with an incredible 38-15 victory for the 2XV.

After an action-packed run in before the Easter break, where the 2XV won 4 matches on the bounce to clinch the first BUCS league win for the club since 2019, the task of finishing the job and moving up the BUCS pyramid fell to the team, who took the field with the whole of UBRFC past and present willing them on.

The conditions were perfect for the Bristol style of play, and despite the narrowness of the Kent pitch, the squad was able to find success with fast-paced running rugby, ensuring that the opposition were given no opportunity to rest when defending, and were suffocated in attack by the Bristolian defence.

The match could not have started any better, with the team fielding the kick-off and driving the Kent defence back with great phase play and set piece execution, winning a penalty and opting for the corner. Hooker Henry Cowls threw in a perfect ball to the back of the lineout, and, with the maul forming quickly, Henry controlled the drive and scored the opening points of the match in the first minute. Unfortunately, the conversion attempt from Tom Allan could not find the target. One minute gone, 5-0 to the mighty 2s.

Kent struck back with a score of their own soon after, but the Bristol defence made them earn it with a strong maul defence, the conversion bouncing off the upright to miss, tying the score at 5-5.

Bristol did not let up with the pace, quickly marching down the field again for Tobias Rees-Slawson to chalk up his first score of the match, powering over the line from a close distance. Tom Allan slotted the conversion, making the score 12-5 inside the first 15 minutes.

The power of the Bristol forwards was clearly too much for the Kent pack, with multiple penalties at the scrum being awarded Bristol's way, and outside of the set piece, the front row continued to use their strength around the pitch. It took multiple bodies to bring down Oscar Manners in the 26th minute, but he was already over the line and scoring the 2XV's third. Another conversion from Tom Allan, the score 19-5 with just under 15 minutes left on the clock.

Kent struck back again quickly after, through a charged-down clearance kick, making the conversion and lowering the deficit to 7, 19-12 the score.

The first half action was not finished there though, with captain Charlie Dore making a quick break close to the Kent line, and throwing a perfectly timed offload to Tobias Rees-Slawson, who after a quick juggle of the ball, scored his second of the afternoon. Tom Allan added the extras from in front of the posts, making the score 26-12 to the good.

Kent then kicked a penalty to bring the score to 26-15 at half time. The message at half time from coaches Neil Pitman and Shane Claridge was to improve the accuracy and decision making in the second period to keep the pressure on Kent and not allow them a chance back into the game.

Both teams started the second half strong, but it was Bristol who would be the only ones to make an impression on the scoreboard. Kent made them earn it, but Jasper Orlebar wore down the defence to add another 5 points to the Bristol tally. Tom Allan picked up where he left off from the tee after the break, adding another conversion to make the score 33-15.

Bristol managed the second half very well, hardly allowing Kent possession in the attacking half. This was shown in the 75th minute with Bristol launching an attack and finding winger John Fenley in acres of space with a cross-field kick, scoring the final try of the match. The conversion could not be added, but this still left Bristol on top, winning 38-15 at the final whistle.

Everyone at UBRFC is so proud of the squad for being able to deliver this success, and in the 24/25 season the 2XV will be competing at the highest level in their history.

The 23/24 2XV squad after their promotion playoff victory vs Kent 1XV (15-38). Top row (left to right): N Pitman, J Orlebar, M Dombrowe, J Moore, T Rees-Slawson, C Hill, J Cook, A Lang, T Allan, O Manners J Peters, W Kemsley Bottom row (left to right): S Claridge, H Starmer-Smith, O Page, M Kassir, J Fenley, T Putt, C Dore (c), H Cowls, M Loveridge, B Ziprin, M Paton-Smith, J Chalk

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