Cambridge were crowned National League 2 South champions after a convincing victory over Dorking by 52-14.
An understandably nervy start saw Cambridge trail by 5-7 after the opening fifteen minutes, but, the league’s top try-scorer Albert Portsmouth soon settled them.
High tempo plays from the Cambridge forwards saw them progress into the Dorking 22. Stef Liebenberg recycled the ball quickly, and the ball made its way out to Portsmouth, who had a free run to the line.
Liebenberg added the next himself, after sniping over from the back of the ruck. From here, Dorking battled credibly for a side already relegated, but Cambridge were always in control of the contest and their own destiny.
Portsmouth and James Stokes started to put on an attacking display of how to run the right lines and to hit the ball at speed, and between them they broke the Dorking defensive line a number of times.
By halftime, the score was 31-14, and after Cambridge scored two quick tries after the break, the game and the championship was in the bag. With the score now 45-14, the game petered out somewhat, possibly as Cambridge just wanted to take time off the clock, with the title now agonisingly close. Plus, even with more possession now, the visitors just couldn’t break down the resolute Cambridge defence.
Fittingly though, Portsmouth scored the last try of the game, his third of the afternoon and his 31st and last of the season. As a mark of respect from his teammates, he was given the conversion also, and he struck that through the posts as well.
Championship celebrations began at the final whistle; Cambridge’s long but successful season had finished in style. Champagne flowed as the trophy was presented, in front of the crowd of over 1,000 at Volac Park.
There were tears of joy from departing Director of Rugby Rowland Winter, who has undoubtedly been a key factor in developing this side into title winners since his arrival. The players will be sorry to see him go, but they will have to put any feelings aside next season, as they will line-up against Rowland’s new team Coventry in National League One. Cambridge will hope that new Director of Rugby, Ross Stewart, can build on Rowland’s work, and give a good account of themselves in a tough division next season.
Also, after the to-and-fro that Cambridge have enjoyed this season with rivals Old Albanians, I’m sure the everyone at the club will be hoping they can win their promotion playoff game with Sedgley Park, so that the enthralling battle between the two clubs can recommence in National League One next season.
Well done to everyone at Cambridge Rugby Union Football Club, National League 2 South Champions 2015/16. The future is Blood and Sand.
Report: Dan Wright