Cambridge U15 15 – 38 Wymondham
Promising beginnings and then ran out of steam ...
Cambridge U15 15 – 38 Wymondham
Scorers: Daniel Mhlanga, Max Isaacson, Finlo Banarse
A hastily arranged fixture, due to both Wymondham and Cambridge having games cancelled on them the previous week, meant that Cambridge were short of players due to previous player commitments and some late withdrawals. However we were very much looking forward to the game as Cambridge had played a very enjoyable match against Wymondham the previous season, both teams using the ball well and looking to play open running rugby, Wymondham winning 31 to 28.
Cambridge started the game strongly, rebuffing Wymondham attacks and turning over ball at the breakdown to counter attack, several good chances were missed as Wymondham cover tackled well and held the Cambridge attackers out, but finally after several promising looking attempts to cross the line the first try came, good hands led to a nice break from a ‘show and go’ by makeshift loose head prop for the day Cameron Booth, who looked like he could have scored himself as the gap opened, but unselfishly he drew the last defenders and his pass was good to Daniel Mhlanga on the left wing for the opening try. The conversion from wide out dipped just under the bar, 5-0.
Wymondham started to control the ball better and moved it wide for their backs to use, but Cambridge covered well on both wings and again turned over possession to counter attack, speculative kicks caught the Wymondham defence flat and narrow, but again the final pass was just lacking, or the ball didn’t go to hand, then a cross-kick was taken on the bounce by flying winger Alex Hammond who, although caught before the line, setup quick ball which was moved well the opposite way for fullback Max Isaacson, who has clearly been watching the latest series of 'Strictly', to dance his way through several opposition tacklers to touch down for the second try, the conversion flying just wide of the posts, 10-0.
As half time beckoned the Cambridge players seemed to relax, and following a series of errors gave possession and territory to Wymondham, forcing Cambridge to defend on their own line, initially the defence held but Wymondham finally burst over to make the score 10-5 at half time.
Wymondham came out clearly fired up from half-time, now carrying and rucking strongly they made good ground, only undone by handling errors or being penalised for holding on after the tackle, but Cambridge failed to capitalise on the turnovers with uncharacteristic errors of their own and this allowed Wymondham the possession they had lacked in the first half to score two well taken tries, both on the wing leaving would be tacklers trailing in their wake, the second try was converted, 10-17.
Cambridge now pressed Wymondham with Luca Vicini seemingly everywhere on the pitch and playing like a player possessed, from a penalty Cambridge setup good field position with a lineout five metres out from the Wymondham line, but again handling errors were Cambridge’s undoing, however having won back possession following a scrum Cambridge probed the Wymondham defence again and again, with the ball being moved well and finally Finlo Banarse found a gap and touched down for the third try, the conversion passing agonisingly close to the posts, 15-17.
Moving into the last quarter Wymondham seemed determined to take hold of the game, and with fresh legs being brought on to the pitch at each break in play made their strength count against a tiring Cambridge team with no substitutes to call upon, as gap after gap opened up, Cambridge defended well and won back possession, but time and time again simple errors cost turn the ball back over to the opposition, and Wymondham capitalised with three unanswered tries, all converted to make the final score, 15-38.
A very enjoyable and well reffed game ended on rather a flat note for Cambridge who tired noticeably in the last fifteen minutes and let their guard down to concede late tries, lessons to be learnt in defence and commitment to tackling for the whole 60 minutes.
Isaac Barden was chosen as the hardest working forward from Cambridge with Max Isaacson the hardest working back, and Luca Vicini was chosen as Cambridge’s man of the match by Wymondham.