UUC 1st XV travelled to Omagh knowing a win on the road would secure the league title and promotion to Qualifying 1.
Omagh had four penalties in the first 20 minutes converting only two of them. 10 mins before half-time UUC’s first score was from Jamie Ball intercepting an Omagh pass and running three quarters of the pitch to score in the corner. The score was 6-5 to Omagh at half time.
In the second half UUC had the wind at their backs. Soon into the half Ollie Miller received a yellow card and was sent to the bin for 10 minutes. Omagh took the penalty making the score 9-5. As soon as Ollie returned from the bin UUC worked through a number of phases and Sam Hall ran half the pitch breaking three tackles to run in under the sticks. Lee Murphy missed the conversion. Score 10-9 to UUC. A few minutes later UUC scored again through the speedy former Blackrock winger Calum Rowden who was passed the ball from an Omagh player to run in and touch down from half way. The score was then 15-9.
The next phase of play saw great work from Andrew Winder and Jamie Ball rip the ball from the Omagh winger deep into the Omagh half. Winder popped the ball to Jonathan Henry who had very little room on the blind side to crash through the gap and run in and score. Score was now 22-9 to UUC.
Again the uni defence stood firm and UUC earned a penalty from Ollie Millar from which UUC kicked for the corner. UUC caught and drove forward to the line. They worked through a number of phases and Ryan Ecock another former Blackrock player crashed over the line. Murphy converted making the score 29-9 to UUC. With 10 minutes to go Omagh hit back with a consolation try and converted it. This made the score 29-16 to UUC.
With 5 mins left to play on the clock UUC won a penalty from the half way line. Gareth Millar stood up to the mark and slotted it over the posts to make the final score 32-16.
UUC won the game with a bonus point and are now Qualifying 2 Champions. This day will go down in club history as promotion to Qualifying 1 will be the highest level the club has achieved. Both Coaches Nathan Moore and Brett Campbell acknowledged the fantastic achievement but noted that if it hadn’t been for the depth of players within the 1st and 2nd XV teams this year it wouldn’t have been possible.
The club would also like to thank The Anchor Bar Complex Porstewart, The Senior Common Room and Spar Coleraine Campus for their loyal support in helping UUC take on this fantastic journey.
Next week the students will defend their 100% home record against the leagues in form team Grosvenor RFC on Saturday 21-04-12. Everyone is welcome to come down to the pavilion and watch what should be an exciting game.
Report: Gareth Bell
Pics: David McCullough