Brunel Rugby League lost by 36-14 to Swansea RL in a hard fought game on Wednesday 15th April.
The game was the first tie in a three-way play-off between Brunel, Swansea and Oxford Universities, with the winner gaining a place in the BUCS Premier South division.
The sun was beating down on the cemetery pitch, and both teams felt the effects immediately as dehydration and fatigue quickly set in, leading to injuries as early as the 3rd minute.
Swansea made the first line break five minutes in, and sprinted through for an uncontested try, only to drop the ball over the line.
The Big Dogs pushed back hard over the next 10 minutes, holding Swansea in their own half for most of the early stages.
And the pressure eventually paid off; With the Welsh team pinned back on their own try line, Ibrahim Kabia chipped through to Howard Smith who dived over the line to give Brunel the lead.
But if BRL's form in the first 20 minutes was great, their play in the next 20 was equally as bad.
With tiredness firmly set in to the team, and a number of minor injuries beginning to mount, Swansea took the game by the scruff of its neck and took the lead for themselves.
Most of the tries came from Swansea's quick spreading of the ball, with Brunel not fast enough to drift wide, letting Swansea burst through on their right side.
Brunel finished the half just a few points down, however, due to a fine interception in his own half by George Geddes. Geddes sprinted clear to touch down a 50m try, which Smith converted with aplomb.
After getting some much needed water on-board, Brunel started the second half much like they did the first. The tie was now a real gladiatorial battle, with both teams trading big hits and their share of individual mistakes.
Swansea struck first, though, extending their lead and piling pressure on Brunel.
But the Big Dogs hit back with 10 minutes played in the second period, as Jake Yellop received a long pass before stepping inside the Swansea right-winger to score.
Unfortunately it wasn't to be for the boys from West London, though, as just like in the first half Brunel began to get sloppy.
Swansea took full advantage and put every point they could past Brunel, finishing the game strongly with 22-point lead and a huge advantage in the play-off battle.
The result leaves Brunel needing Oxford to beat Swansea, before a deciding match between Oxford and Brunel at the end of April. If Brunel were to win that game (giving every team one win a piece), the promotion place would be settled on points difference.
Yellop, who completes his stay as BRL chairman this summer, said: “It was a great effort from the boys. We're disappointed to lose, but it's not over yet. And I'm 100% sure it's going to be an even better year for the team next year.”
It has indeed been a great year for Brunel Rugby League, winning the South-Eastern League in a transitional year, and now promotion has come down to the wire. Come on Brunel!