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Cambridge Rugby Shield


Apr 16

Shelford 3s 10 - 25 CRUFC 3s

Cambridgeshire Intermediate Cup Final

So what to say about today?

A tremendous performance by the guys against a very good Shelford XV and a game played in good spirit by both sides who came to play full on rugby. The weather thankfully played ball, clearing up with the sun making an appearance though it did get cold towards the end.

Paul Wilson took charge in the middle well supported by his 2 AR’s from CUDDRS, our thanks to them.

The early exchanges were quite ferocious, when aren’t Cambridge and Shelford games ferocious. First blood went to Shelford, they pressured the Cambridge line and their powerful runs were halted by some huge hits from Noah, James, Ben, and Oskar to name but a few. That stout defense kept Shelford out but an infringement gave them the opportunity to take the points, which they duly did. 0-3

Cambridge then got into their structured play, with Paul and Ben pulling the strings and the forwards providing great ball go forward ball at the breakdown and set piece. Darren had in the pre match talk emphasised the importance of the scrum and the front five, Alex, Callum, Lewis, (then Tom and Steve when they came on) Declan and Ed delivered. They destroyed the Shelford scrum all game giving, Paul a great platform and making it hard for the Shelford #9 on their put in. Our pressure eventually told and Paul Dennis, in his last game for us, went over with Ben adding the extras. 7-3

Cambridge continued to pressure and our defense halted Shelfords powerful runners time after time, everyone putting in great tackles low and powerful, putting people down. Noah Sloot, Callum Cleaver and Richard Just were all over the place snaffling ball. When a penalty ensued just outside the Shelford 22 Ben put it over. 10-3

Cambridge thought they had scored again in the corner but the final pass was adjudged forward. Ben also had another penalty chance just on halftime but missed to the left, just.

HT 10-3

Darren’s calming words to the in the break were to keep playing as we were, both teams were still in it, we were close to putting them away but Shelford were one clean break from being right in it.

The big hits in defense finally took their toll on Oskar Dixon’s shoulder with a ‘stinger’ and Aston Cox replaced him. Good defense and Bens booming kicks kept Shelford at bay, however his radar was off on a couple of penalties that went begging. However Cambridge continued to press and Tom Wells (also in his last game for the club) went over under the post with Ben adding the extras. 17-3

Tiredness and Shelford’s continual efforts saw them breaching the gain line a bit more frequently and although our scramble defence was good, it finally brought them their reward with their #10’s darting run taking him under the posts. 17-10 with 24 min to go.

Tension was high on the side-lines, especially when what seemed kickable penalties were spurned for the dominant scrums. But the team on the pitch kept their cool and the set piece pressure eventually brought a kick in front of the posts and Ben duly obliged.

20-10 with 7.5 minutes to go.

Another strong run by Julian saw a great breakout which was halted with a bang to the head (accidental) and what turned out to be 12 stitches. Cambridge continued to defend well and looked to play deep in the Shelford half. Powerful runs by Ben and others close to the line were stopped by good defense, however the ball was recycled, Ben called for it right and fed a long ball to Will Law, who scored in the corner. Ben just missed with the extras.

Full time 25-10

A tremendous squad effort today and in fact a tremendous squad effort since Shelford beat us on January 2nd. Since then we have been undefeated in league and cup. Today was a well deserved reward for the focus and commitment the squad have shown, the rugby played today was of the highest quality. Todays MOM was James Peach, though there were standout performances all over the pitch some of James hits were outstanding!

We look forward to showing off the trophy at the last 1st XV match of the season on April 30th where we’d like as many of the squad who have played this season to join in another celebration!

Report: John Pritchard

Oct 15

Cantabs 17 - 8 3rd XV

The Exiles made the short journey over the city to play Cantabs 2. These are usually closely 'fought' encounters and it was again today. The game was played on the Hills Rd College pitch, the Cantabs pitch being out of bounds by order of the groundsman; where have we heard that before! For me it was the first time in the new changing rooms of the college and very nice they are too.

Game was played in good spirit throughout and we thank Cantabs for their hospitality post game, the log fire is always an attraction in their clubhouse on a cold autumn day.

Limited to the league rules of 18 players; we had 2 front row replacements and a back rower as of Thursday night, but then lost a few players to injuries that needed rest. As a result we ended up having to re-jig our back line somewhat. We welcomed Tony Dore back and Felix Rathbone stepped in to help us out and then had Noah at 12 rather than his usual 7, Jack McLaren-Stewart called his brother Callum ( who hasn't played for 2 years) to fill in on the wing as Percy was delayed by a family emergency.

With Darren's exhortations ringing in their ears the guys took the field. So what to say about the game? Early on we found ourselves unable to clear our lines and Cantabs took advantage, using their well organised pack to score.

We then promptly compounded our back line issue, firstly by Noah running a great line off Tony, but straight into him giving him a bloody nose! Then about 10 minutes later Tony's body ( knee) gave up on him, telling him it was time to join Darren on the sideline (we hope to keep him involved on the coaching side he has a lot of experience we can learn from). So we re-jiggled again, Jack to 10 Theo from 6 to 11 and Isa Sloot to 15.

With the final scoreline as it was you can picture a tight game, Cambridge pulled a try back through Callum McLaren-Stewart scoring in the corner, Noah who took on the kicking duties wasn't able to convert. Both sides had strong runs, stopped by good tackling, if we got isolated then Cantabs jackled well to achieve the turnover. The best run that stands out was a run from our 22 by Felix Rathbone pretty much all the way to their 5m line, but we were unable to take it all the way. If memory serves, Cantabs scored again before halftime.

Second half was more of the same, a tight game looking to break out into a try fest but never making it. Noah put a penalty over and Cantabs went over from close in. Cambridge were much better organised and structured, and we pressed the Cantabs line a number of times but just were not able to break through. We saw strong runs from Sloot brothers Noah and Isa a number of times but we ran out of support at the vital time.

So there were some very good passages of play and obviously some more things for us to work on in training, but excellent spirit and commitment from all. We have a week off game wise for the RWC final then a game every weekend until late December.

Report: John Pritchard

Oct 15

3rd XV 78 - 6 Haverhill

Last season we played Haverhill 3 times, twice in the league and once in the cup. We lost every game, the last one being the 'hospital event' where we had 2 ambulances attend and over 5 Cambridge players end up at hospital. And remember this wasn't a 'dirty or nasty' game just a couple of committed teams playing the game in excellent spirit.

I had reason to look at the squad we played in those games tonight before I penned this report, and it's notable that today's squad was not very different to the teams that played this fixture last season. Of course we have had new players join this season and we saw a few debuts today, Will Law, Theo Parjadis, Jack McLaren-Stewart, and U18 Owain Collard, joined by one of last years Colts Oli Townsend. Jack tuned up on Thursday night to find out about playing at Cambridge again ( he's an ex M&Y player) to be asked to play Saturday!

So to the game, again played in excellent spirit, controlled well by Dave Howell ( our thanks to him).

Last season in 3 games we scored a total of 18 points, we did a little better today! The forwards provided an excellent platform throughout, both at set piece and the loose. Good support play saw great clear out and quick ball saw gaps open in the Haverhill defense which the backs exploited to the full. Of the total of 12 tries that we scored today, the backs took 9 of them, all built around the good ball provided. Owain scored 4 of them with some strong running, one springs to mind with 'Pencil', Oli's nickname apparently, executing a great 2 on 1 to put Owain in. As we'd focused on this on Thursday night training it was great to see it done well in a game situation, it wasn't the only example of that.

Paul Dennis scored 2 and his support running was noted on the sidelines, we will be without him for the next 2 weeks as he goes on a belated honeymoon after his wedding in the summer, we hope he and his wife have a great time!

Julian, with 2 and Declan made sure it wasn't just the backs scoring and Theo and Will, although playing on the wing, are actually forwards, scored one each.

Theo also put some great hits in and the tackling by all was pretty consistent. Ben was also pretty consistent from the tee, converting 9 of the tries.

Summing up, I would agree with some of the comments the guys have made on Facebook; high energy, high consistency and really good discipline as, despite the scoreline, Haverhill never stopped playing hard so our defence had to be as good as it was.

Report: John Pritchard

Sep 15

3rd XV 45 - 24 Saffron Walden

Saturday saw our first league game, at home to Saffron Walden 2. Always a tough game as they are a well coached side. Honours were even last year as we turned them over at their place and they returned the compliment!

Nice day to play rugby, clear sky, and we were one of 3 games on the day. The 2nd team, (Dev ) played Chinnor 2 at 1pm. Rowland had asked me if we could supply a few backs to 'sit on the bench' perhaps get 10-20 min and then they'd be still ok for our game. So Dan Clifton, Ben Peach and Seb Howarth stepped up for that role. So imaging my surprise when I saw the 2nds run out with Ben starting. He not only started but played the whole game and then came and played the full 80 for us.

We were limited to 20 players with SW agreement so weren't able to use everyone who made themselves available. Apologies for that but it will work out over the season. We were able to use some of our Club student players fitting in a game before returning to or starting their courses.

Final pre match words from Darren and off the boys went.

I didn't take notes through the game to provide a accurate record of each phase of play so will provide an overall view of a really good game. Initially the sides were evenly balanced and at times we were guilty of not holding on to the ball. The scrum was again working really well and Dex controlled the ball at the base of the scrum well. With their scrum going backwards quite often Hugh got after their #9. My recollection is that we shaded the scoring in the 1st half one excellent driving mail from the line out saw Chris Ward to over, the forwards operating really well as a unit.

Halftime talk; again calm words from Darren and encouragement to look after the ball better sent a rejigged lineup out for the 2nd period. Paul Dennis moved to 9, Declan Scully made his club debut at lock, Isa Sloot filled in on the wing, Noah ( after the last 2 weeks in the 2nds) replaced the impressive James Balfe ( another club debutant). Vaid and Richard came on 5 minutes into the 2nd half. For the management and coaching team it was evident immediately that the guys had heard 'the word'. Name on the ball from the kick off, taken in to the ruck, ball well laid back away it went and 2-3 phase later we score! As SW tired we played better and better and scored in total 7 tries, Ed Penn a hat-trick Seb Howarth, Oil Benham, Chris Ward and Declan Scully ( with a charge down that he calmly collected virtually off the guys boot). Paul and Ben shared the conversions, missing just 2. Great breaks by Vaid, Noah and Declan stand out in the memory, but the overall impression was that this was a real team performance. Final score 45-24.

Report: John Pritchard