Cantabs welcomed back some familiar and new faces for their second league match of the season away at Saffron Walden. Cyril and Nat returned in the forwards with new blood Matt and Tommy playing their first game for the club. The backs also had Alex Stafford (aka AP) playing his first match of the season adding some size and strength at inside center. Walden had started their season well with two wins from two, so another tough game was expected.
Saffron Walden opened the scoring early when off the back of a rolling maul their 9 darted down the blind side to score in the corner. 5-0 after 3 minutes wasnt the start we were looking for. It wasnt long until we leveled the scores with a similar blindside raid, Fergus beating several to score out wide. The conversion was wide but the scores were tied at 5-5. Cantabs were playing some lovely attacking rugby, offloading and support play taking us up the field with ease. It was Wyomming who benefitted finishing off a play to score his first ever try in Cantabs colours. The conversion was made from out wide to take it to 12-5. The referee then started hammering Cantabs in the ruck. It was difficult at times to tell which way the penalty was going. In most cases it was their way and the 10 stepped up time after time, adding 3 penalties on the trot to take back the lead. 14-12. Cantabs finally found some good field possession off the back of a huge AP tackle. He scored under the posts moments later brushing away several of Waldens backline in doing so. At half time the score was 19-14 to Cantabs.
Cyril replaced Tim at hooker to start the half with Charlie and Ben chomping at the bit to join in on the action. However Cantabs discipline was still causing issues, giving Walden another penalty within range and with their kicker hitting them well, they took the free points on offer. This took it to 21 points in 2 matches we have gifted the opposition, certainly a focus point moving forward. Speaking of moving forward, Cantabs started playing some beautiful flowing rugby. We were keeping the ball alive and our scrum and line out were now dominant. Fergus scored his second try off the back of a brilliant backline move. The grounding was a little suspect but from some distance, the ref decided it was a try. This opened the flood gates a little and with Ben and Charlie joining the action we continued pressing on. Tries to Matt and another to AP opened the gap to 38-17. However, Cantabs achilles heal; discipline at the ruck was about to turn the game on its head. After playing the advantage Ben Salisbury was ruled to not roll away from the tackle. I am not sure where he was supposed to go with 2 bodies on him but he was shown yellow. One minute later and defending our line for the first time in the half, Josh saw an opportunity for a turn over. All seemed legal however the ref had different ideas and showed the captain yellow. Down to 13 men with 20 minutes to go and Walden made the most of it with their hooker crashing over. The mismatch didnt seem to stop the Cantabs attack adding two tries to Oli and Tommy whilst down to 13 men. Oli also managed to slot a conversion. The final play of the game saw their 10 out sprint AP to score and take it to 50-29.
Plenty of positives in attack and defense for Cantabs however the discipline at the ruck must improve. Man of the match was split between first gamers Matt and Tommy who both worked hard all match and found their names on the score sheet. Dick of the day was going the captains way, until Charlie Deller thought we had lost the game in the post match huddle. Next week we are off to Haverhill for what will be another tough away match.