Cambridge 2's 29 v Jersey Athletic 36
"Game of two halves", "Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory". And other 'round ball' manager's quips!
I won't dwell on this report too long. The coaches and players have assessed the negatives and will build on the positives.
Major traffic delays on the M11 resulted in Jersey's late arrival (no fault of theirs), with the 12.30pm KO being delayed to 1.35pm.
Several Cambridge selection changes meant we may have a tricky time in a couple of key areas. However, the first half saw some quality rugby from Cambridge, notably, Lewis Barker, Dan Lewis, Cam Ruddock and Declan Sully.
Forceful and decisive in both attack and defence, Cambridge dominated the half, leading 22-7 at the break.
The second half was to become a very different story.
A try about 10 minutes into the 2nd half from Ben Peach (converted by Dan Lewis), gave Cambridge a 29-7 lead. Things were looking good.
Inexplicably, the forceful and decisive play of 1st half drained away. What ball Cambridge had after that was either dropped or lost in contact, allowing Jersey to get their noses back into the game.
Jersey are no mugs and by just sticking to their basic game, they seem to sense that opportunities would arise. Their back row started to see dividends and the Jersey 8 began to dominate. The game changed shape, allowing the Jersey 10 more freedom.
In a nutshell, the tide turned in Jersey's favour. They were up for it.
Jersey fought the score back to 29-29 with just a few minutes left. From the KO, Cambridge took play well into the Jersey half. The next score would win the game.
Indecisiveness by Cambridge again led to spilled ball. The ball was turned over by Jersey only to be won back again by Cambridge. Jersey were not giving up and the ball was turned over by them again.
This time, through straight, basic running and support, Jersey got to the Cambridge try line and dotted down for 29-34. Converted for 29-36.
Final score. Final whistle.
Jersey stuck at it, so we should take nothing away from them.
Cheers and whoops from Jersey, while Cambridge were left feeling "gutted, sick as a parrot". "What can I say Geoff? Unbelievable"
Looking forward to the return in March 2018!