A result too close to call, should have been the majority prediction for this encounter. In the midst of UK election opinion polls, the hard statistics prove the case. In the last 4 games, 3 narrow low score victories to CRUFC and 1 draw. (18-19, 21-18, 13-13, 15-10). Followers of recent form alone had the game won by a margin in excess of 30 points. Redruth winning only 2 of their 13 away games this season, recently leaking 5 tries at Blackheath.
Cambridge with tough conclusive wins way at Newbury and Cinderford should relish the chance to put on an exhibition of fluent rugby in near perfect conditions. The outcome was a hard fought, unyielding contest. On the day the visitors and a fickle south easterly wind disrupted Cambridge enough to have to fight for another narrow win. In defence the "Reds" have enough wit and pace to contain our pigeon catchers, although two of them did sweep in for the crucial tries. On their own account our visitors, once again, set out to irritate and disrupt our forwards, effective in as much as the penalty count ended more or less even. But Redruth were awarded and won 15 scrums (many deservedly driving forward on a 50/50 ball) to our 6 of which 3 became free kicks against, bizarrely front row infringements. Squandered possession was equally evident in the line out count, 2 to 1 in Redruth's favour and in particular only 1 line out for Cambridge in the second half. Overall a difficult match to win for us, a couple of plusses and a big minus that will be addressed in a paragraph later.
Redruth opened the scoring after 15 minutes, a lateral run in by right wing Lewis Vinnicombe. Faced with 3 Cambridge defenders his pace took him outside all to score easily in the corner. Cambridge had so far squandered possession with a sprinkling of misdirected passes. That we were uncharacteristically slow in thought and tired in action became the pattern of the half. Redruth failed to take advantage in play but maximum advantage in walking the touchline and coaching expeditions on to the pitch. That the referee and his team often fail to support the 4th official in technical side protocols, has to be an issue to be resolved before next season. Redruth wound us up and that has to be viewed as a success in itself.
I will try and salvage something from a forgettable half. A tired Cambridge team struggling to recapture rhythm in open play. Toby Berridge and Tom Wheatcroft ran strongly and the line outs worked with clinical precision. In the early minutes we came close with a succession of penalties on the Redruth line only to dilly and dally, no decisive options called or executed. That Redruth only crossed the line once suggests that our defence held firm. Also Redruth kicked intelligently using the wind to push us back into the car park corner again and again. Cambridge had to work for every metre and against a sharper and quicker opponent that was taking its toll.
I don't know if you will have been told that the Redruth 20 (Wayne Davey), who stopped the game when Wheato was injured, is a paramedic when he's not playing rugby. Also, according to Carl, he shouted at the ref to stop the game when Redruth were almost through! Might be worth a look on the video.
Tom and Adam now share a similar fate, a serious end of season injury. Adam has proved that sticking on in there regardless of setbacks is worth it. Character forming, an inherent risk in contact sports and the fear of mum's wives and partners. Again added drama as first the stretcher then the ambulance added events to an eventful and successful Colour Saturday.
Man of the Match the tireless runner, Andy Brown, and for me Wheato, Toby and Robbie contributed significantly to our 4th consecutive win