So the derby match was upon us, Cantabs were away to Shelford 5. This is always a good day for a rugby match and the weather helped in being quite a nice day, soft and muddy ground.
We had a pretty strong squad considering the 2s stole a few players for the day, which I think made everyone even more excited and up for giving 110% on the pitch.
I really should write these after the match, as I can't remember the full details 3 days later. So I'll try and recall it as much as possible.
Cantabs started by receiving the kick from Shelford. We dominated early with some really strong running from our forwards. Namely Tim, Deller, Justin and George, these guys love to carry the ball and make a nuisance. After some strong running and a couple of dominating scrummages (you'll see a pattern about the scrums), we managed to give the backs a turn at having a run. With "Guns" or Gary as he is known to others (who happens to also be our 75th player in the squad so far this season) at 10 using his great passing skills to allow Matt B and Will to have some powerful runs at their backs. This turned into quite a few rucks and a maul which got turned over. So once again on the scrum Cantabs sank and pushed back Shelford to win back the ball. Straight out to the backs and we managed to get Matt B through and score for his first try this season. Gary managed to get it over the sticks. 0-7 Cantabs.
Shelford kicked off, this time I don't believe the ball went 10 so we went back for a scrum. Cantabs again dominated and won the ball. Once again it went out to the backs who had another run but couldn't break through. It stayed like this for the rest of the first half. I do have to say that when Shelford got hold of the ball they had some really strong runs as well. They had some strong backs who had to be taken down by 2 -3 of our guys. I think there only downfall was their 10 trying to do a few high balls down the wing. They always seemed to bobble out into touch, or be taken by Matt S and ran straight back at them.
So the first half ended at 0-7 to Cantabs.
We made a few changes at half time for some fresh legs. One being Tom Condor who has made his first appearance in a few seasons. It's always good that we have such huge social aspect to the club that pulls people back to play for Cantabs whenever they can.
So back on with the game. Cantabs had their first kick off of the game. Shelford received it quite well and shifted it out to their backs for another run against ours. Once again our backs held up strong in defence and forced a couple of rucks. I believe there might have been some hands in the ruck at this point so Cantabs had the ball and with a scrum down. Once again we had a great shove and retained the ball. This lead to our backs having a few more runs at Shelford. One of the changes we made at half time was to move Mark from second row into inside centre, this proved vital as when he runs with the ball he can pretty much plough anyone over. This was quite apparent when he ran over their number 10. We used Mark a few times for his fantastically strong running capabilities, before we knew it we were back down in there 22. Shelford held their ground and forced a couple of rucks. One of which was only 5 metres from the line, we had a maybe a 2 -3 man overlap on the wing, but Tom C decided to pick up the ball from the back and stretch his way over the try line to score next to the posts. Again this was Tom's first try of the season. Gary comfortably got the conversion. 0-14 Cantabs.
Once again Shelford kicked back. It was taken very well and the forwards once again applied some strong pressure. Shelford at this point was determined to hold us back. But once again when they had the ball they had some great running from the forwards, making sure they took out a few players at a time in the rucks. But once again their backs let them down by trying to once again kick over the top. This happened for the rest of the half. Cantabs had some great rucking and strong running by both forwards and backs. Cantabs showed that we were the stronger pack in pretty much every scrum by winning 85% of all scrums. I think the only thing that let us down was some silly handling errors in a few rucks, and possibly the line outs where Shelford had a few taller guys who they could lift to obtain the ball. But with every run Shelford kept us at bay with some great defending. They also kept us on our toes with some strong runs. The game ended at 0-14 Cantabs.
I think everyone came away from that game with a big smile on their face and the satisfaction of a really decent game of Rugby had taken place (along with a win). Thank you Shelford.
This is always a hard one and I had to take some advice from el Captain who was running touch due to an injury. So this week's Man of the Match goes to Deller for some solid forward running and some great defence.
I couldn't really fault any ones performance again this week. Everyone put in the effort required to win the game. I have been told by a little birdy that Matt S had a nice "air ball pass" at one stage. So it's either him or me (for trying to put myself as MoM). I'll let you decide.