A disconsolate Niall McCarthy after the whistle. Caius threw away ascendancy in the second period to crash out of CuppersLawrence Hopkins

The hot spring day belonged to Queens’, who advanced to their first Rugby Cuppers Final in over thirty years with a gusty defeat of Caius. Despite a lacklustre first half display, the college dug deep in the second period, ultimately finding a way to win.

The first half in the scorching April heat belonged to Caius. The boys in blue scored twice in the corner from scrums to seemingly put one foot in the final. The scrappy affair saw its first points taken when Caius positioned themselves expertly inside Queens’ territory with the boot, before winning a penalty from which they spread play to touch down in the corner. Not long after a near-carbon copy try was also scored.

Water breaks broke up play throughout the match, but the green and white lacked fluency nonetheless. With Charlie Amesbury appearing to carry an injury, Queens’ lacked rhythm and were met with physicality when on the offensive. At half-time, Queens’ had plenty of work to do.

A boisterous Caius following, punctuating the contest regularly with chants of “Let’s Go Caius, Let’s Go,” were to leave Grange Road disappointed as Queens’ turned the tables in the second half. Amesbury’s influence grew, directing play as a lineout turned into a driving maul, which turned into the first score of the afternoon for Queens’. Amesbury’s deep kick set up Queens’ second score minutes later. Phase after phase of pressure told as forwards crashed over the whitewash.

Charlie Amesbury led Queens' to victory, despite appearing to be carrying an injuryLawrence Hopkins

Queens’ gave everything, and that Herculean effort was to be too much for Caius to overcome. Caius squandered their first half dominance in the second forty, allowing Amesbury, playing at ten, to dictate his back line’s movements. This included a magnificent team try; backs running at pace in the Caius half, offloading in the tackle, proffered a penalty inside the 5. The quick tap kept the tempo high, high enough for Caius to fail to prevent adversaries from diving over to widen the margin.

Niall McCarthy, Caius’ first year scrum half, did his level best to drag his men back into the contest as the tide turned, running from deep and producing heroics as he touched down in the corner and subsequently depositing the tough kick over the posts. But his efforts were to be in vain.

As the final whistle went, McCarthy, shattered, stood alone, disconsolate. The youngster had performed admirably but the grit and tenacity of the whole Queens’ side saw them claim a place in the final. The victors face the Red Boys of St John’s in the final

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