|Date||9 September 2017|
|Opposition||U.C.S. Old Boys|
|Result||W 24 - 21|
|Time played||Normal time|
The 1st XV made the trip north to Finchley for the first match of the season. With real impetus on a strong start in Hertfordshire and Middlesex 1 after promotion last year, a strong side was named in spite of some key players being absent.
Playing on an extremely small pitch with roughly the same gradient as Ben Nevis, Bank came out of the blocks well. Using the heft of the pack, Bank made good yards in the rain, hampered only by some careless handling errors early on. With 15 minutes gone, UCS broke the deadlock with a flowing backline move to dot down in the corner. With a handy nudge taking the home side to 7-0, the Bank boys decided to unleash their own pace. After quick thinking from the backline with a tap-and-go penalty, it was shipped to Will Powles on the wing who crossed the whitewash on debut to bring the score to 7-7.
With the scores level, first game of the season ill-discipline from both sides led to James Marshall slotting a relatively simple kick to take Bank into the lead for the first time. 10-7. Unfortunately the lead was short-lived when in the dying seconds of the first half, the UCS backline linked well to create a three-on-one and score in the corner again. A superb kick from the touchline saw the score go to 14-10 at the break.
The second half saw bank climbing the aforementioned slope, and being on the receiving end of a much more pronounced kicking game. Despite this, with Marshall controlling the game well from 9, Bank played a large portion of the next 20 minutes in the home team’s half. Deep in the UCS 22, a flurry of pick-and-go pressure from the pack saw an opportunistic one-yard try on debut for Matt Jones, the replacement second row. A simple conversion from Marshall made it 17-14 with 20 minutes left to play.
With fitness levels now being tested early in the season, Bank kept good pressure on UCS to protect a slender and hard-fought lead. Probing runs from Ross Mullard and Chris Palmer allowed Bank to play with real impetus. Sustained territory and pressure saw Ed Waite break through a tiring UCS defence to cross the line and take Bank eight points clear. Marshall again added the extras to take the score to 24-14 and provide Bank with some breathing space.
UCS were by no means done though, mounting a spirited period of forwards play to pin Bank in their own 22. With mere minutes remaining on the clock, the home side continued to probe a resolute Bank defence, eventually crossing for a converted try. The score remained 24-21 at the full time whistle. Although UCS nabbed a losing bonus point, Bank came away with a crucial win away from home. Man of the match honours were split evenly between the equally deserving James Marshall and Ed Waite.