Cambridge 2's shaded at Richmond, but still top!
By Adrian Fraser
Cambridge 2's remain top despite going down to a quality Richmond Vikings
Cambridge started the day in top spot, with Vikings in 3rd place, but with games in hand.
Ampthill in 2nd, had the day off.
A cold day, but an excellent playing surface led to some exciting rugby at Richmond Vikings.
Due to front row injuries for both sides, scrums went uncontested. However, this didn't detract from some high quality play from both sides.
Vikings scored from a 'catch & drive' (a threat we'd talked about pre-game) after 7 minutes. The conversion was missed. 5-0 Vikings.
Cambridge were awarded a penalty on 13 minutes, with the Vikings 'culprit' taking a 'little rest' for 10 minutes. Fin Creighton took the 3 points. Vikings 5 - Cambridge 3.
Vikings (back up to 15) extended their lead from an intercept on 24 minutes. Their new '7's' winger scoring the try. Conversion good. Vikings 12 - Cambridge 3.
From the kick off, Cambridge immediately secured the loose ball. Fin scoring both try and conversion on 26 minutes. Vikings 12 - Cambridge 10.
An occasional quote is "you haven't scored unless you defend the re-start" rang true. On 30 minutes Vikings had a line out on the Cambridge 5 metre line. A knock on led to a Vikings scrum. The Vikings 9 foiled the defence and dotted down. Conversion good. Vikings 19 - Cambridge 10.
Fin reduced the deficit with penalties on 35 and 42 (added time) minutes. at half time, Cambridge were well in 'with a shout' at 19 - 16.
The second half continued much in the same vein. Vikings scoring a good try and conversion on 50 minutes. Vikings 26 - Cambridge 16.
From the re-start, Vikings secured the ball and with numbers, scored again on 53 minutes. Try and conversion. Vikings 33 - Cambridge 16.
Cambridge battled back and from a set of 'pick & goes', Noah Sloot went over for a 56 minute try. Fin converted. Vikings 33 - Cambridge 23.
With Cambridge feeling they were getting back into the game, on 60 minutes, Vikings punted the ball into the Cambridge 22. With Fin running back toward his own try line, the cruellest of high bounces meant the ball evaded Fin's valiant grasp. The ball falling nicely into the bread basket of the single chasing Vikings player. Try and converted. Vikings 40 - Cambridge 23.
With a fifth try following their already 5 point win fourth try (and Cambridge looking at zip points), Vikings noticeably looked happy with their lot.
At this stage and with a gap of 17 points, most betting men (or women) would have put their money on it staying that way.
However, Cambridge had no intention of 'raising the white flag'.
On 75 minutes, Vikings took their 2nd Yellow of the game (this time not to return to the field of battle).
From the ensuing play, the Cambridge forwards forced their way towards the Vikings try line. Noah again going over for his 2nd try on 77 minutes. Conversion missed. Vikings 40 - Cambridge 28. "Come on, let's go for our bonus points!"
Five minutes later (and in added time), from the restart and after some ferocious work from both Cambridge forwards and backs, Joey Patrick got away to score in the corner. Conversion just missed.
Final Score: Vikings 40 - Cambridge 33.
Yes, we'd beaten the bookies! 4 tries at the death and within 7 points! We'd grabbed 2 bonus points!!
A hard battle between arguably two of the best teams in the league.
Joey Patrick with a great game. George B-N battling at the line out and in the loose. The back row were immense. Louis Rawlings being a 'bloody nuisance' again, Foxy with hard hits. Joey Britton playing out of his skin for every single minute, yet again.
While we were disappointed (are own expectations are high), to come to Richmond Vikings and take 2 bonus points is a huge achievement.
We never give up!
We stay top of the league.
Vikings move to 2nd spot.
Hard again next Saturday. We have 3rd place Ampthill at home. 13.30 Kick Off. Be there!
Lastly, a huge thank you to those who turned up to watch. It means a lot to the boys and they can hear you!
on behalf of Cambridge 2's players, coaches, staff.