The first fixture of the New Year for Cantabs 3rd team saw them matched against Royston 2nd who have been competing well within the X.X. Deuxieme league. With a number of injuries and absences throughout the club, Mikey Goode stepped into the front row, his first appearance following 2 1/2 months out through an ankle injury. Also joining the squad were James Ballad, making his first appearance in a number of years and 2 young new players - Paddy Alder and Alun Minifey, who we welcome to the club.
Cantabs, playing in yellow, started the game looking confident and it wasn't too long before Keith made his presence felt, putting in a monsterous tackle to kill off a promising Royston attack and then scoring down the other end to get the scoreboard going. As the game settled in, Cantabs began to dominate the set piece, with Alex Woolley stealing most line outs from the opposition and our pack advancing at scrum time with power from Nat and Keith on the flanks and Jules at 8. Another powerful score from Keith to double the Cantabs lead is converted smartly by Fly-half Jack Sykes.
As this point Jon Railton took a knock to the knee, eliminating the captain from the game. Scratchin came into the Scrum half role and Goode took over captains responsibilities on the pitch. Following some pressure from Royston, Cantabs spill the ball in offload and gift the opposition a try in the corner, which remains unconverted and leads to an interesting decision by winger Will Tullitt to run a quick kick off, hoping to catch Royston off guard, but perhaps confusing and disorganising the home team more than the opposition!
Some sustained Cantabs pressure leads to a penalty, which Scratchin takes quickly to dart through the retreating opposition and secure another try. The final play of the half sees the ball spun wide along the backs to find Mikey Goode who runs through to touch down in the corner.
Half time sees a few changes, with Alun, Paddy and Ash making their way onto the pitch. The pace of the game slowed slightly, with pressure from Royston forcing Cantabs to defend their line on more than one occasion, with one notable incident involving an over enthusiastic pass from our young Scrummie flying over the head of Sykes at 10 and nearly causing a hazard on the railway track! Cantabs to defend the scrum again.
A physical 15 minutes of the game allowed the opposition to gain another unconverted score and also the flare of a few players to erupt into a a bit of handbags - Beast living up to his name as expected.
As soon as Cantabs settled down again, things started going their way and Simon and Euan at centre controlled the game effectively. With all the subs made and fresh legs on the pitch, Cantabs score three more tries through Scratchin, Paddy and Euan to seal the deal. Notable performances from new player Paddy, Matt Shepherd making a debut at flank and Keith who earned himself Man Of The Match.