Mike Brennan try: Cambridge 5 – 0 Huntingdon
Huntingdon converted try: Cambridge 5 – 7 Huntingdon
Mike Brennan try (conv. Josh Grey): Cambridge 12 – 7 Huntingdon
Huntingdon penalty: Cambridge 12 –10 Huntingdon
Ryan Headington try (conv. Josh): Cambridge 19 – 10 Huntingdon
Louis Rawlings try (conv. Josh): Cambridge 26 – 10 Huntingdon
Louis Rawlings try (conv. Josh): Cambridge 33 – 10 Huntingdon
Ryan Headington try (conv. Josh): Cambridge 40 – 10 Huntingdon
So another Sunday another cup game, this time the LV U18 Cup, organised through Hitchin Rugby Club. Another Sunday and more last minute dropouts due to illness or injury. Another Sunday and another call to the U17s for player help, though this time as their cup game was cancelled due to the opposition having no players Pierre rang us first (just). So we welcomed Ryan Headington, Callum Austen (back from injury), Euan Dingwall, Marcus Jones, Louis Rawlings and Callum McLaren-Stewart from that squad, and welcomed back Colt Bas Janssen fresh from auditions and concerts.
It was good to see support from injured players and parents and from parents of players on holiday, as well as parents of players taking part. Of course it was also good to see Tony Kennedy back from his "procedure" looking fit and trimmer (his words) and taking charge in his usual style, firm and fair. Our thanks to him and all the CUDDRS referees for their time and efforts this year.
Huntingdon were the visitors today, relatively local rivals who usually play Saturdays in the East Midlands leagues. That they brought 20 players was a testament to them being up for this one.
The pitch was in reasonable condition having been played on by the Wanderers/exiles combo the day before, with its usual damp bits.
Cambridge opened the scoring through Michael Brennan who powered through his opposite number, Josh missed the conversion which was his only miss of the day.
The game was competitive, both sides rucking well and counter rucking aggressively. In the main Cambridge provided Hugh Pritchard with a good platform. The session with Paul Turner helped put some better patterns of play together and despite a greasy ball handling was pretty good. Noticeably, compared to the first half at Stowmarket and the Colchester game our first up tackling was excellent.
Huntingdon have their own danger man on the wing in Barney West and from second phase ball on the cambridge 10m line they sucked in the defence which allowed Barney to round the cover and score in the corner, an excellent conversion from out wide made the score 5-7.
Cambridge then restored their lead with another well taken try by Michael, running through the cover this time with Josh converting 12-7.
Just on half time a penalty to Huntingdon, again taken well made the score
Cambridge 12 - 10 Huntingdon
In contrast to the description of the halftime 'hair dryer' at Stowmarket this conversation was much more relaxed. Structure and shape, had been good, defence and pressure with the one blip excellent and work rate throughout the team and half couldn't be faulted. It was very much keep this going be patient. Our line out had taken time to settle but Amedee was now hitting the jumpers and Bas was pressurising their ball. The scrum had gone well with good drives and one or two against the head. Changes were made to ensure subs got good time rather than for performance.
From a penalty on the right on 10m line Bas took a quick tap and caught the defence asleep, he fed Ryan Headington up in support who scored under the posts, with Josh converting.
The ball was then well taken from the kickoff and reset at a ruck, Hugh fed Callum Austen who powered to the 22, feeding Joe Offley up in support who floated a pass over the cover defence to set Louis Rawlings away to score on the left. Josh converted.
Huntingdon then spent some time in the Cambridge half and exerted pressure with Cambridge making mistakes and not clearing well. However the defence was good and finally a great penalty clearance set Cambridge up in the opposition 22. Although that line out was lost pressure was maintained and from a Huntingdon line out Bas won the ball and it was fed out to Ryan who drew the defence to set Louis away for his second try. Josh again converting.
The rest of the game was played in the Huntingdon half however their good defence kept Cambridge out until almost the last play of the game, where from a penalty after continued pressure the tap was fed out to Ryan who powered over to score.
Final score: Cambridge 40 10 Huntingdon
Thanks to John Knowles for the scores, Maryline Vautravers for the second half video and Benoit for the great gallery.
Ryan's eulogising after the game wasn't far from the mark. Against a very competitive side the second half performance was one of the best we'd played this season. Front five ( Harry Rhodes, Amedee Vautravers, James O'Brien, Joe Offley, Micheal Burnford, and BAS Janssen) worked hard all game. The back row, Euan Dingwall, Callum Austen, Toby Renwick, Kieran Valance and Neil Smith, got around the pitch made their tackles and provided good ball for the half backs. The back line worked well on a slippy surface and with a greasy ball with all the try's being scored by the backs but set up by all round team play.
A good end to the year setting us up for the National Plate, LV Cup and EC Cup next year.
Thanks to all the players who have turned out this season so far and to parents for their support. Have a good Christmas and New Years break, we will see you January 6th.
JT ,JP and Benoit