Cambridge 2's 64 - Esher Cardinals 17. And still top!
By Adrian Fraser
Cambridge beat Esher Cardinals to stay top
Cambridge started the day in top spot of Zoo Shield Div 1 and were determined to do everything to stay there. Most notable pressure coming just below from Ampthill 2's and Richmond Vikings (2's), who were playing each other at Ampthill.
Esher won toss and elected to play with the elements. As at Chinnor the previous week, a similar untidy start. After 20 minutes Lawrence Rayner calmed things down, slotting a penalty. Cambridge 3-0.
On 25 minutes a kick through was fumbled in goal by Esher and Mike Brennan was on hand to touch down for the first try of the day. Converted by Lawrence. Cambridge 10-0.
Within a couple of minutes, James Hare's pace proved too much for the Esher wing and full back. Try, again converted by Lawrence.
Scores then came in quick succession.
From the re-start Cambridge were unable to keep clean possession in difficult wind. Esher retrieved the ball, beat the Cambridge cover to score their first try on 30 minutes. Converted. Cambridge 17- Esher 7.
Things then became a little bit twitchy. Only 4 minutes later Esher's left wing ran a wide arc from left to right, avoiding several desperate 'tackle' attempts from Cambridge, to score in the right hand corner. Converted. Cambridge 17- Esher 14.
Clearly stung into action, on 36 minutes, James Hare finished off great play from combined Cambridge forwards and backs, to score under the posts. Lawrence with the extra points. Cambridge 24- Esher 14.
Esher again retrieved the ball and using the wind to his advantage, the Esher 12(?) dropped an excellent goal. Cambridge 24- Esher 17.
Again Cambridge came back with a vengeance. On 40 minutes, Foxy crashed through, taking bodies with him for his try. Lawrence again on target. Importantly, Cambridge fourth and bonus point try.
Cambridge 31- Esher 17.
Half time and a constructive talk from coaches and senior players; "stick to what we do well and let nothing pass".
Not sure of timings for second half scores, but in a nutshell, Cambridge took a strong hold of the game.
Joe Britton scoring in the corner. Lawrence's kick just going wide in the swirling wind. Cambridge 36- Esher 17.
Esher missed an opportunity to score in the left corner when with the try line seemingly at his mercy, the Esher ball carrier chose to pass one handed. The ball into touch, allowed Cambridge to 'make good' from the line out (a dominant area all day), moving play into the Esher half.
Cambridge scored four further tries in the remaining 20 minutes or so (Joe Patrick, Jake Mair on debut, Patrick again and finally Fin Creighton; all ably converted by Lawrence).
Cambridge's 33 second half points (a game total of 9 tries, 8 converted), coupled with a complete 'shut out' of Esher, saw the boys finish with a 'final whistle' score of:
Cambridge 64 - Esher 17.
Great performance all round. Lawrence's excellent kicking. George B-N showing why he's 'line-out king'. Joey Britton playing the last minute like it was the first.
Another 5 pointer keeps Cambridge 3 points clear at the top.
Surprise of the day? Ampthill beating Richmond Vikings by a point to keep second spot.
Cambridge travel to Vikings next Saturday. Big, big game!
If you're not going to Plymouth, we'd love to see you at Richmond!
NB: Thank you to Bob Coote for the great photos and thank you to Josh Collard for filming the game.
on behalf of coaches, staff, players (and supporters!) of Cambridge 2's.