(By the Report Monkey)
With the outstanding numbers Cantabs have been achieving for all 3 teams this season (we have now had 56 players step out for the 3s so far this year), the 3s travelled away to face Thurston 2s for a mid-season friendly.
Arriving at Thurston’s ground for me was very reminiscent of my first time at Cantabs, there is something about the humble nature of the social/family club that feels like home, and though my home is at Sedley Taylor road I could tell that this place was cut from the same cloth.
To the game, Thurston were first to apply the pressure and though our defence was strong in the middle they worked themselves an overlap and used it well to score in the corner 5-0.
Cantabs did not take long to reply however with the forwards to a man applying great pressure from the restart to eventually win a line out on the 22 for their efforts, from the line out the forwards mauled the ball to just out side the 5m Craig fired the ball out to Will and Jonny cut in a awesome line from 13 to burst through the defence to level the scores. 5-5 (think we need a bit of conversion kicking at training!!).
For the next 10 mins both teams had their goes at trying to break through each other with some lovely play and great defence from both teams. However some Thurston were the next to get on the score board when their winger embarrassed his opposite number (sorry again) to break through and score. 10-5.
It was not long before Thurston scored again when Matt was beaten by the bounce by a chip over (a polite way of saying he let it bounce through his legs) and the chasing Thurston man took the opportunity to dive on it over the line. 15-5.
Shortly before the end of the half we lost Ed K and Tim to injury so Scott and Dan came on to replace them. Other than more good attacking but better defending from both sides there was no more action in the 1st.
Highlight of the first half Jonny's line for the try, a level above text book and a warning shoot to all other blue and white centres the competition for places has just stepped up a gear!
Due to our deficiencies myself and Matt made way for Mateus and Rhys with Ash moving to full back.
The second half started in the same way the first had ended with great attacking play from both sides but better defending from both. For what seemed like an eternity from the side-line (though it was probably closer to 10 mins) Thurston pressed and pressed with no reward as our epic defence of previous weeks returned for a moment they seemed to have us but Deller showed his might as he literally held up their man over the line. Through the ebb and flow we did not seem to be able to get out of our half for this period and eventually through some great team work Thurston worked themselves an overlap and used it well. 22-5
Cantabs kept their heads up it took some great defending to shut down the numerous breaks made, Jonny, Jonny, Will, Craig, Dan, Beast, Mateus, Finn and Deller all making good ground that we were unfortunate not to capitalise on. But we fought to the final whistle and were unlucky not to nick one in the dying seconds. Final score 22-5.
Highlights of the second half were the tackles - all of them really but some big hit specials coming from both the Jonny's, Will and Beast topped my list.
Speaking to some of their players after the game and they said that it was the best they had played all year and that we had been their toughest game. Hopefully we can organise a return game as the competition and spirit of this one was fantastic.
MoM - at the risk of repeating myself there was many players who could have been the MoM this week (other than me and Matt it could have been anyone), but due to the quality of his running with the ball and tackling off of it, and that line I have selected Jonny R.
DoD - a close one between me and Matt this week, but not for getting beaten by the bounce but for the hospital pass to his capt, Matt it be you.