With the 2s having missed their last few fixtures due to frozen pitched and cancellations awaking to a frost less Saturday morning was a blessed relief. With a low front row turnout Ben Tozer would be rushing from the airport to the pitch to make the game and Harri Beasley would be making his long awaited return from injury.
Cantabs began the day in desperate need of a win and an impassioned speech from the returning Harri Beasley seemed to give the players an early boost in confidence and intensity. On a bright blustery day Ollies kick off was claimed by Shelford and they cleared down the middle of the field to Peters. He carried over half way and spread the ball wide through the hands to Beasley who beat the attempted tackle and scored in the corner. After 11 months out the celebrations were understandably intense. Conversion missed but Cantabs ahead 0-5.
Cantabs came again, this time down the left and an inspired kick from the left boot of Dave ONeill gave Ollie Townsend a sprint into the in goal to finish under the posts. Conversion good 0-12 the score and Cantabs flying. Then came the fightback from the home side their 10 running the channel between 10 and 12 and twice breaking the attempted tackles laying on two scores in quick succession one of which was converted levelling the scores at 12-12.
Unfortunately Harri had to leave the field after scoring, and on came Gideon. Now came the chance for Cantabs to show their cutting edge, Rick Peters taking the ball from Jamie Faed drawing the man and putting Gideon in for a sprint to the line his finish impeccable and Cantabs led again 12-17.
The topsy turvy first half ended with an equalising Shelford score thanks to them spreading the ball wide beyond a Cantabs defence further stretched due to a man in the sin bin. 17-17.
Ben Tozer joined the fray at half time and joined the pack with Ben Charlton dropping out and Chris Kelly was replaced by Oliver Hilbourne. Cantabs continued their Jeckyll and Hyde performance looking lethal going forward and struggling to make their hits in defense. Darren and the other forwards were carrying hard giving space for the backs to attack but again Shelford struck twice getting outside the Cantabs defense and breaking tackles. Scores 27-17.
From the restart Cantabs pressed once more and Zandys quick feet were a feature in gaining yards to their 22. A quick penalty and two dummies later Josh had scored. Following the conversion, 27-24.
With the game to be won it was Shelford who took the initiative, forcing Cantabs back and again crossing the whitewash twice busting Cantabs tackles on the way to a 37-24 lead. Despite bullocking runs late on from Nat and Nathan who both worked tirelessly all game all Cantabs could take from the game was a four try bonus point.
A frustrating game with moments of brilliance punctuated by porous defense. We know what to take into training through the week.
Man of the Match Harri Beasley Returning to the fold and scoring with his first touch after delivering a speech that belonged in Braveheart.
Dick of the Day Ben Tozer Turning up at half time with no boots simple.