A wet day at Harvey Haddon was brightened up by a brilliant second half display from Nottingham Uni, who beat Trent 22-18 in the opening instalment of Varsity 2012.
With the second team comprehensively beaten earlier on in the day, there was pressure on the 1st team to revive what has so far been a disappointing season. The game did not start brightly and Trent dominated the opening proceedings, scoring after a clever fifth tackle grubber. This was compounded by the indiscipline of Uni’s players, which led to Trent’s second try and an 8-0 lead.
After some promising attacks that were let down by poor decision making, Trent showed to be the more clinical side, scoring a third try in the corner. At 12-0 and with little positives for the Uni side, they rallied well, drawing on the advice given to them on Friday by Warrington coach, Tony Smith; the crucial breakthrough came as captain Olly Beech made a run for the heart of the Trent defence, drawing the fullback to put Matt Hammond under the posts.
After a scrappy opening to the second half, Uni sought to improve on their lack of composure and at times unimaginative play. They benefitted from a greater willingness to spread the ball wide and some clever interplay between Jimmy Goodwin and Will Meadings sent the latter over the line. From here, Uni seized the momentum and their more expansive approach enabled Sean McManus to score a superb solo try to level the scores at 18-18.
Thanks to some great defending inspired by Steve Linney and assisted by a fierce wind, Trent were pinned back in their half. After wasting several chances and extra-time looming on the horizon, Meadings went over for the deciding try, sending the Uni fans into delirium. This completed a stunning comeback that will hopefully reinvigorate their season.
It was truly a game of two halves, which was ultimately decided by Nottingham making their conversions.
For more pictures of the match, please visit our Varsity 2012 Facebook page.