In its fifth year, the Jack Segust Memorial Cup saw The University of Portsmouth’s first team (UPRFC) defend their title against the Old Boys (University of Portsmouth alumni team) 18 – 14.
A packed crowd watched the game at HMS Temeraire, which raised money for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity in memory of Jack Segust. Before the match kicked off a minute’s applause took place in memory of Jack, which was observed respectfully by the huge masses that had gathered on Wednesday 28th September 2016.
UPRC got off to a solid start gaining significant territory with every pass, half backs, Max Graham and Cameron Hunter, quickly released inside center Jake Caddy through the defensive line.
Old Boys’ fullback Ted Keeling had a difficult task but played valiantly to prevent Caddy and captain Steve Gibson from getting early points on the board.
It didn’t take long before UPRC turned their early territorial gains into points. Five minutes into a
fantastic series of offloads, the ball found its way to Hunter who ran parallel against the opposition’s defence then quickly popped it to winger, Will Berry, who then crashed over the try line. Steadying his nerves, fly-half Hunter failed to convert from the edge of the pitch.
UPRC were keen to press home their advantage following the restart. Forwards, Jim Storey and Richie Janes, smashed through the first line of defence before Rob King was eventually brought back to Earth by Luke Osborne, leading to a scrum.
The Old Boys discipline then slipped under the strength of the UPRC pack and the home side secured the penalty. This time Berry stepped up to the mark and put UPRC 8-0 up after a long discussion with his captain about whether to go for touch or the guaranteed three points.
The Old Boys had hardly made it into the opposition half when UPRC made it 13-0 midway through the first half. Berry’s offload to his teammate who then broke through and scored in the corner. Once again the angle was too tight to convert from; two kicks wide and a missed four points which would prove pivotal in the second half.
The possession remained very much the same for the next fifteen minutes with the ball mainly in the Old Boys half. However, the likes of Finn Parry, Sam Cooksley and Chris Spedding held firm in their pack to prevent UPRC from getting further ahead.
During the half-time interval, the crowd was treated to a performance by The University of Portsmouth’s Dance Society (UPDC). As the teams prepared for the second half, the wind began to pick up, visibly benefitting those who were about to play right to left. Thirteen points down, it was the Old Boys who would have this advantage.
Within two minutes of the restart, the Old Boys, who hadn’t contested the ball in the opponent’s 22 for the entire first half, scored a try. Captain Matt Wreford touched down under the posts after a succession of efforts by the Old Boys’ forwards who pushed past the five metre line. Ieuan Clements made it 13-7 with an easy conversion.
The Old Boys pressed hard over the next ten minutes as the game started to become far more physical and evenly matched compared to the first half.
The visitors scored a well deserved try after some quick thinking, which was followed by a fantastic conversion from the touch line making it 13-14.
Spurred on from being down, UPRC responded almost immediately; George Johnson received the ball from a ruck just in front of the five metre line and scored in the corner overtaking the Old Boys by 18-14 with only ten minutes to play.
UPRC almost had another late try when Jake Caddy and Max Siddle linked up with a cheeky one-two which then relead Andy Till and his devastating turn of pace down the touchline. Old Boys recovered, tackled Till and kicked for touch to keep the score 18-14.
The score remained still until full-time resulting in a close win for UPRC and were then presented with the Jack Segust Memorial Cup.
Both teams celebrated with Jack’s family after a mass pitch invasion from the rest of the attending UPRC members. The night ended as it began with chants of “Segust, Segust!” ringing around HMS Temeraire, reminding everyone in attendance the motto of the match, ‘heroes get remembered, but legends never die’.
Video highlights from UPSU TV: