On Saturday Cantabs face West Norfolk, a game which carried the double significance of turning over the loss suffered at West Norfolk along with taking the scalp of the current league leaders. This match report may have taken a slightly different tact if the writer (and Cantabs skipper) had not had the following quote brought to his attention from the WN blog
“Anyway, there was much gnashing of dentures and the air was filled with expletives when the OG read an article stating that Haverhill had withdrawn from the league as had Fakenham and that "leaders" West Norfolk would feel the effects (spelt wrong by the way OG, I have corrected for you!) most as they would now lose 9 points. ( And a very smug Cantabs skipper gurning out of the page. Man needs to be thrashed)”
This skipper would like to defend his charming good looks and ask where exactly the “trashing” went!
The game opened in usual circumstances, with both teams trying to figure what kind of game the opposition would be playing. Cantabs in the warm up had gone for a slightly more relaxed approach, trading the full of warm up for a more relaxed affair. This appeared to be the wrong approach and Cantabs continuously gave away kick-able penalties, allowing WN to get into a 9-0 half time lead. It is fair to say the riot act was read at half time, although it was not needed, Cantabs knew they had the beating of WN who apart from the points gifted to them looked unlikely to breach the Cantabs defense.
And so to the second half, 2 substitutions, Dan S moving to the wing and Justin being replaced allowed Rich Ford and Skeggs to get on the park, it was clear that having 2 line out experts would help what was the problem area of Cantabs game. The 2nd half kicked off and with Rich Ford running the ball straight back to WN and Warren running one of his trade mark run and hand off’s a try was scored and converted almost immediately. This was followed by a penalty and a second try from François Eve, 15-9 and only 10 minutes into the second half.
Then began a prolonged period of scrimmaging, which although not exactly a spectators sport showed the dominance Cantabs had up front. Credit has to be given to WN however as not once did they collapse a scrum which would have surly led to a penalty try. Cantabs did score although it was disallowed (whether it was knocked on is still being debated….but ref’s decision is final)
And so that is how the game finished, 15-9 to Cantabs, who although slightly disappointed at giving WN a losing bonus point, had to be pleased with the second half turn around.
The final whistle was met with 15 “gurning” Cantabs players and myself…well not thrashed as was suggested.
A good game, and promotion aspirations still very much alive.