Cambs Cup Final heartbreak for 3's
By Adrian Fraser
Saffron Walden ran out comfortable winners of the Cambridgeshire Intermediate Cup Final despite Cambridge's best efforts.
A great festival of Cambridgeshire RFU finals rugby hosted by Saffron Walden ended in heartbreak for a plucky if a little creaky 3rd team. Fielding far too many old boys the side had its moments, particularly in the second quarter of the game. After going behind 17 - 0 they clawed things back to 17 - 12 by the half time break. Buoyed by the improvement there was a strong belief that with the wind in their favour it could be their day. Alas, they didn't record a single point in the second half and in a bizarre reflection of the second half of the season for Cambridge things petered out to a bit of a whimper.
Credit to the home team, they were strong and coped well with the conditions. They stuck to their game plan and didn't allow the Cambridge purple patch to put them off their stride. Congratulations to them and we hope they enjoyed the evening celebrations.
Gary Duffy was our "Red Bull Pub" Man of the Match. He never stopped running, taking the game to Walden with his non-stop determination to drag us back into contention. Mikey Brennan also deserves a mention with some fantastic line breaks, ironically setting up Cesar Belloso for the try that meant Cesar finished top of the scoring table with Mikey in second. Chris Chivanganye also got a try and the handsome Sam Collicott converted one.
Head Coach Darren Messenger said, "It's very disappointing to lose in any final. However, it shouldn't detract from the achievement of making it to the second tier final in the County in which we're up against many of the area's first team squads and in fairness every game, cup or league feels like a cup final such is the attitude of the opposition. Our first and second teams don't play any of the clubs in the Eastern Counties so any team we play plays as if they're playing our 1st team. That's their mentality and sometimes it shows. I've been really proud of the boys all year. We've used nearly 65 players throughout the course of the year and that's great for the club. Contrary to popular belief we don't and aren't actually able to call on our 1st an 2nd XV squad to bolster our team so the core of the squad has been the same throughout the league and cup campaign. Ironically our third team is getting closer to the local 1st teams such as Shelford, Cantabs and Ely and with our 1st team maintaining their National One status goes to show just how far ahead the club is. We go on tour next weekend to Antwerp and we're looking forward to celebrating the end of the season in style. There will be nearly 50 of us travelling and a real mix of past and present players and supporters. Thanks to everyone involved, coaches, medical staff, sponsors and a special mention to Bob Coote for his fantastic pictures."
So as we reflect it was a great first half of the season finishing the league in a solid 3rd place with some really impressive performances. We couldn't quite get going in the second half of the season with injuries and availability. We probably feel we could and should have done a little better and with a bit more consistency we may have even threatened the league leaders. The way the league system works we will no doubt face the same clubs as last year so we should aim to win it or at least finish one place better. We've welcomed many new players to the squad and still provide the opportunity for any one wanting to get involved in rugby in Cambridge a great platform to give it a go. Some of the boys have seen action in the second team and we introduced another healthy group of Colts to senior rugby at the end of the year. We sing when we lose and we sing louder when we win. We maintain the core values of rugby and strive to create a positive culture within the club as we cling on to the true traditions of the game as it continues to evolve at fast pace.
Congratulations to the 1st team for maintaining their National One status with an impressive bonus point victory over Sale F.C.. We were all gathering round the mobile phone showing the live stream from Chairman Rob Dean and there was a big cheer when the final scores came in.
Thanks to everyone for their support throughout the year, have a great summer and see you all next season.