Old Elthamians beat Cambridge 28-29.
A disappointing afternoon for the Blood and Sand ends in another defeat at Volac Park.
Old Elthamians hold on to ensure the winless streak at Volac Park continues, after beating Cambridge by 28-29.
The blood and sand looked ready to set the record straight with regards to their home form after they made a lightning-quick start to the game. Both the game’s and the visitor’s first scrum was turned on its head by Cambridge, and from here, they didn’t leave OE’s 22 until Pierre Peres had dived over the line to open the scoring. Ben Penfold added the extras.
From here, the electricity in Cambridge’s early play seemed to disappear as quickly as it had arrived. Repeated tackles were missed and at one stage, it seemed that they would get turned over from almost every tackle and ruck they went into.
From the fifth minute to the fiftieth, OE’s were in cruise control, breaking the red-line at will. Winger Dom Lespierre made the most of the lack of pressure on him and scored a hattrick of tries, the last of which gave the away side the bonus-try-point, and a 7-26 lead at the fifty-minute mark.
From here Cambridge surged back into life. OE’s found the rejuvenated home side tough to manage, and two sin-bin offences in quick succession gave Cambridge an added advantage.
They made the most of it, with Shane Moynihan touching down, before a brilliant individual score from Joe Green, who ran under the posts in a move which started in his own half. Penfold again added the extras for both to make it 21-26.
Cambridge then gave away a penalty following the restart, which replacement Tom White made no mistake with, and with less than ten minutes remaining, the kick probably wrapped up the win with his team now more than a score in front at 21-29.
In the eightieth minute, Oli Petrides touched down following a slick move, before Albert Portsmouth grabbed the ball and quickly drop-kicked over for the extra two, in the hope that the game could be restarted. But, the referee blew his whistle for time, and even though Cambridge had gained themselves what looked at one time an unlikely two points, they lost the game by 28-29.
Agonising for the blood and sand. They showed in spells that had they played anywhere near their best for the entirety, they would and probably should have won this game comfortably. Worryingly, the Volac Park curse continues for now, something that if Cambridge are to succeed in this league, needs to be put right sooner rather than later.
Director of Rugby said after the game; “To be honest it was a woeful performance, and playing like that just isn’t acceptable. The missed tackles; you can hardly call them that, more like just misses. If we play like that next week against Plymouth, they’ll put eighty points past us. We’ve got some work to do this week to sort that out.”
An away trip to Plymouth Albion next. One of the stronger sides in National One, they’ve won four of their five games comfortably, with their only loss coming away against Blackheath by 32-31. A tough test for Stewart and his team, and one at this stage that he will be happy is away from home, where of late, Cambridge have been performing much better than at Volac Park.
By Daniel Wright