Cambridge 50-23 Rosslyn Park
Cambridge end their winless run at Volac Park in style.
The Volac Park crowd are lifted back into life by a dominant Cambridge performance, as they beat Rosslyn Park by 50-23.
An afternoon where the pressure on the Blood and Sand to provide a home victory was greater than ever, but to begin with, they showed no signs of nerves as they started magnificently.
They recovered their own kick-off before an electrifying passage of play saw Olli Petrides cross the whitewash for the first of eight Cambridge tries on the afternoon. Ben Penfold added the extras.
Cambridge were given a warning by the visitors that they needed to be extra careful not to give away needless penalties, as Rosslyn Park showed that they would kick for goal from anywhere Cambridge’s half, and even from beyond it, as they made the score 7-3 courtesy of a long-range attempt from five-meters inside their own territory.
Man of the Match; the returning Lawrence Hutchinson, touched down for the first of his hat-trick of tries, before Albert Portsmouth added one of his own. These scores were sandwiched by two further kicked penalties for Rosslyn Park to see the score stand at 19-9. Penfold broke the line with some neat footwork, before offloading to Hutchinson for his second.
It was a difficult task to find any great error in Cambridge’s play, but the fact that Rosslyn Park waltzed through at ease to immediately return the score just before the break would’ve disappointed Director of Rugby, Ross Stewart.
The scoreboard at half-time displaying 26-16 didn’t reflect the one-sided nature of the first-half, and the game could’ve been beyond the visitors at the break, but the fact that they would return to the second period only ten points behind, and knowing Cambridge’s recent run of results at home, would have provided them encouragement.
Perhaps the nerves started to show on both sides, as first the visitors missed a penalty attempt, before Penfold himself missed consecutive attempts, the second from short-range which crashed back off the upright.
It was the 68th minute before the deadlock was broken, as Erhen Painter settled the home nerves as he crashed over the line. The relief on the player’s faces and in the stands, was undeniable. The noise levels at Volac Park reached ten for the first time in what seems like an eternity.
The crowd undoubtedly encouraged the team to see the game out, and Cambridge did so in style. Hutchinson completed his hat-trick; bouncing off the first defender, before dragging the second over the line with him.
Matt Hema then got himself on the board following a nice pop-up pass from the floor from Ashley Elvers. Rosslyn did respond with a well-worked try of their own, before Portsmouth claimed his brace for the afternoon after a smart turnover from Joe Britton before linking up with Hutchinson, who provided Portsmouth the space to score the eighth of the afternoon before the whistle went at 50-23.
An excellent performance and result from the Blood and Sand, and a vital one. To have the crowd in full voice once again will surely make a difference moving forward, but first, a trip away, and a tough one at that. Ampthill and District currently sit fifth in the table and ten points above Cambridge. Yet another challenging away fixture that will require Cambridge to be at their very best if they want to earn themselves a points-reward. The game will also see Cambridge line-up against former club-captain Stefan Liebenberg.