Colts bolt to victory
UNIVERSITY coach James Nasser had a proud boast that he had never been beaten by Colts as a player or a coach since 1989.
That was until the final whistle blew and the Rugby Park scoreboard read Colts 29, University 15.
There is always a good atmosphere for grand finals with the hill running down one side of the pitch painted in Colts’ colours and the colourful tents dotted around the park.
Added to that was the startling attire of the supporters, with many going to great lengths to decorate themselves, or in some cases their pets, for the big day.
This year the University supporters were dressed in unflattering one-piece suits of the club colours.
While fans were not rewarded with a flowing first half of running rugby, it was an intense battle between two strong sets of forwards as they tried to gain the upper hand.
It was tense as University defended brilliantly for the full 40 minutes. Within two minutes of the start Mitchell Smith had opened the scoring for Colts with a penalty.
Even at that stage of the contest Colts were looking dangerous, especially in the centres where Charlie Fetoai was taking two or three University tacklers with him every time he built up a head of steam.
Another to look dangerous was Colts winger Joe Collins-Soo, whose pace and big side-step often had would-be tacklers grasping at air.
Collins-Soo was involved in the first try as he made the initial run down the right wing and when that came to an end, Colts switched the ball to the other flank where Alistar Hirst dived over in the corner.
At 8-3 at halftime it could have been anybody’s game but in the second half it was Colts that came out firing.
Fly half Peter McLaughlin is usually in the middle of anything creative for Colts and early in the spell he did what he does so well, showing the ball, a little dummy and then eased his way through the hole he had created to score the try.
The body language said it all as once Smith had added the conversion, University looked like a team beaten.
Tom Hale joined the fun with a score in the corner which Smith again converted and, with the score at 22-3, the students had the uphill task of chasing the game.
It was not until late in the match that University finally began to penetrate the Colts defence but by that stage it was all too late.
McLaughlin scored his second try in between two consolation tries for the students.
Flanker Manny Robb was named the player of the final for Colts and while he was in excellent touch that title could have gone to any one of a number of team mates.
On the list would have to be McLaughlin and Smith, whose kicking games were impeccable, especially in the second half, turning Uni around every time they looked to get on a roll.
For University, Keith Taylor worked hard all afternoon while Brett Parker started the game well but faded.
Colts coach Frank Busby admitted he was a very happy man.
“Even when the score was at 3-0 I thought we had a slight edge,” he said.
Busby said the only disappointing thing for him was letting in University for the final try of the game.
“Our forwards did a job,” he said. “We pretty well dominated.”