(by the Report Monkey)
The 3s welcomed Thurston 2s to Cantabs this week hoping to return the warm welcome given when we travelled to them earlier in the season. Due to the condition of the 1st team pitch we took a trip over the road to use the long rd college pitch (proudly loosing no men on the trek).
Kick off was delayed as we awaited a couple of Thurston stragglers (as they had done the same for a wandering Beast on our visit to them it seemed only fair).
Before I get to the game I thought I would explain the sub pattern to hopefully save confusion as I go on. As it was a friendly I made the decision to use the rolling subs to make sure all 18 guys got at least 60 minutes on the pitch. Possibly a bad choice tactically but most choices I make are (just ask the wife).
Thurston kicked of and were soon applying the pressure, twice in quick succession their large centre caught us napping and some sloppy tackling found us 0-12 down.
This seemed to give us the necessary kick up the back side needed. Our Forwards pushed us on with some good charges in the centre. The ball was worked out to the backs and through some swift hands made it's way to Brad (playing in the centres this week) who ran through one man then darted through the space made by their winger to open our account. To add to this he kicked over for the extras. 7-12.
At the 20 min mark our first change around (3 on 3 off), brought on James making his Cantabs debut, and it was not long before he was in amongst it, darting through the line, then literally running circles round their defence to score our second. Brad's boot was on target again to give us the narrow lead, 14-12.
The next 10 mins was all in the middle of the park with both sides throwing in solid runs, and even more solid tackles. It was Cantabs who finally managed to get their momentum going and a strong break by Steve saw him burst though some uncharacteristically sloppy tackles by the Thurston men to score his first for the 3s. Brad was just wide with the nudge 19-12.
After a bit more midfield battle the half ended.
Favourite moment of the half had to be the look on their 8's face as little Ash brought him to the ground.
The half started with the next 3 on 3 off change around and the continuation of the balanced battle with both sides pushing to the others 5m to be held out by epic defending at both ends. It was however Thurston's persistence which broke the stalemate, as they used fast hands to good effect to score round the side of us. 19-17.
It was not long before we managed to respond and through some strong team work we drove them to their 22. A pen was taken quickly by James, Sir's arm went up for their non-retreat, but with their men sucked into the middle the ball found Beast lurking on the left, and with a man in support the 2 on 1 was only ever going to have one outcome, Beast running through to score under the sticks! Another good nudge (off the posts) by Brad 26-17.
The last 20 saw the last changing, and unfortunately the changing of the tide. Our last try seemed to awake a beast in the Thurston men and despite some solid tackling by all they ran some great lines with great support to score 6 unanswered tries (by Sir's tally, I lost count as did their Capt). 26-49 the end score.
Thurston winners on the day but a game played in good spirits by all makes rugby the winner in my eyes.
Favourite moment of the half was all the tackles, the rush of tries does not do justice to some of the hits going in by every player to a man.
Big thanks to Lovett for helping me coordinate my tactically unsound game plan (he was resting himself for his England Deaf selection match, which they won).
MoM, again could have gone to many, special mentions to Ash who had a great game at his 9 debut, Geoff who showed that a few years away can be easily blown away by a few big hits, Steve who put in the hits to take some of the venom out of their LARGE centre.
But this week the prize goes to James who had a great game at 15 and 10 and will be missed when he gets fit and the 2s notice him!!!
DoD, less contenders for this, Tim Fitz it's all yours. At 26-27 down the ball finding Tim lurking on the wing would normally guarantee a positive outcome. However this week he decided to practice his juggling routine. Bad times.