The opening round of the APS competition saw the Somerset 1st XV at home to the Emmanuel 1st XV. With many of the starting team fresh off a tour to Canada expectations were high for a good victory.
Emmanuel, however, had their own aspirations and signalled their intent of a victory early on by gaining a penalty and shooting for goal. Their Five Eight converted and Emmanuel held an early 3-0 lead. This seemed to spur the 1st XV into action as the next four scores were all tries to the 1st XV. Craig Hales continued his good form from Canada with an explosive run down the left hand touch line to score in the corner. Kai George struck the conversion perfectly to add the extra two. Taylor Davies was the next to score after straightening the line and sprinting the 50m to score an excellent individual try. Kai George and Kale Brenssell were the other first half scorers. Late in the half, Emmanuel drove solidly towards the Somerset line and one of their big forwards picked the ball up from the base of the ruck and dived over to score adjacent to the posts. They converted to make the game interesting at 24-10.
The 1st XV displayed a much more disciplined approach in the second half and playing into a stiff breeze the emphasis was on being patient and executing. Wing, Griffin Pugh was on hand to score after Mitchell Olarenshaw made a surging run and Hilton Luxon produced a superb offload for Pugh to score in the right hand corner. Craig Hales scored his second soon after from a misdirected Emmanuel kick was left to bounce. Hales swooped on the ball and out-sprinted the cover defence to score a 70m runaway try. Josh Vuta and Charles Pye combined in an excellent ruck based move to see Charles surge up field and find the ever present Josh Vuta who linked with his outsides to find an unmarked Lewis Ioannou to score a try on his return from injury. Mitchell Olarenshaw collected the eighth try of the match after the ball was recycled from an excellent counter attacking run from Harry Franzmann. The final Somerset try of the afternoon came from a 5m scrum and superb understanding an interplay between Vuta and Olarenshaw saw Clayton Kennett score a well-deserved try. Although Emmanuel scored a late consolation try the game was well and truly wrapped up by that stage with the 1st XV running away with the game 55-17.
Kai George was awarded Man of the Match for his elusive running from Fullback and kicking 5 out of 9 conversion attempts with most of them being from out wide. The victory saw the 1st XV collect their first bit of silverware for the year with the Inaugural Old Firm Cup being held up for the first time by Captain, Duncan Hossy.
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