Eastern Counties powered their way into the quarter-finals, scoring seven tries in a dominant display in the wind and rain at Sudbury on Sunday. A couple of brief spells in the second half apart, Cambridge University were always second best.
Counties, with the strong wind at their backs, ran up 26 unanswered points in the first half, taking the lead in the seventh minute and rarely letting Cambridge out of their own half. They mixed up their game well, using the forwards to set up the backs to keep constant pressure on the visitors.
Cambridge, inevitably, hit back in the second half, scoring two tries. But Counties defended superbly, and hit back two minutes after Cambridge’s second try to end the threatened revival. Two further tries merely underlined their superiority in all aspects of the game.
Adam White dummied his way over after seven minutes to put Counties ahead, and landed the conversion.
Barry Aluvanze went over in the 15th minute after a powerful run by Rhys Hartley. White again converting.
Mike Stanway made it three tries in the 24th minute, set up by Chris Lord, who did well to pick up a poor pass off his toes. White narrowly missed, but made no mistake in the 32nd minute after Gareth Baxter had rounded off a rolling maul.
George Smith reduced the arrears in the 51st minute, George Williams converting, and Jack Baker got a second after 69 minutes, Williams adding the extra points.
But Malcolm Onsando powered his way over two minutes later to put Counties in control again.
Shaq Meyers, one of seven second-half changes by Counties, burst through following an 80th minute lineout, Tom Summers converting.
And deep into injury time Stanway got his second, going over in the corner after Counties’ pack had set up the opportunity.
Eastern Counties: Rhys Hartley (Colchester), Sam Bixby – Bury St Edmunds, Sean Davis (Bury St Edmunds), Gareth Baxter (Cambridge), Malcolm Onsando (Culford School), David Micklethwaite (Norwich), Barry Aluvanze (Culford School), Matthew Norfolk-Clarke (North Walsham ), Henry Dewing (North Walsham ), Adam White (Shelford), Mike Stanway (Bedford Blues), Harry Downing (North Walsham), James Crossley (Leeds University), Lewis Green (Shelford), Chris Lord (Bedford Blues). Replacements: Aaron Cole (Holt), Curtis Weaver (Cambridge), Chas Hays-Burt (Colchester), Shaq Meyers (Bedford Blues), George Teeboon (Shelford), Tom Summers (Sudbury), Jonty Rawcliffe (Culford School).
Cambridge University: Tim Jones, Tom Pasco, Sam Alderson, Oliver Exton, Jack Baker, Matt Hall, James Thompson, Harry McAleer, Gideon Levitt, George Williams, Dave Sparkhall, Ben Wylie, Will Burrow, Louis Tapper, George Smith. Replacements: Patrick Calvert, Theo Collier, Ezra Neil, Henry Rose, Max Burrows, Muhammad Jaffer.