As I awoke to a sunny morning which was bringing yet another match against Cambridge Exiles I took a moment to enjoy the bright sunshine and ponder what the day would bring. With the gentle warm breeze on my face and hair blowing behind me like a Pantene shampoo advert my thoughts turn back to highlights of my previous tough encounters with the exiles.
I think back to Josh Railton’s cross field kick to James Filmer on the right wing who then raced to the white line like only he could, Keith crashing through the red and yellow jerseys like a battering ram breaking open a castles gate to bundle over between the posts these are only a few that spring to mind.
However this highlight reel was rudely stopped with news filtering down from Sky sports that we were losing players quicker than Mr Bolt can run the 100m. Anyway a solid 2’s team made the long trip over to the other side of the bridge with 15 players (contrary to other reports) and one injured Matt Shepherd who would run the touch, be water boy and if needed put his injury to the back of his mind and come on as a last resort.
With Chris Lovett pulling the strings at fly half, Alex Swart-Wilson making his debut for the C’s and a cameo appearance from Gary ‘Guns’ Nightingale. Cantabs started brightly, a pressured Cambridge back line fumbled the ball in their 20 metre line and Guns pounced scooping the pill up and quickly shipping it on for Alex BJ to cross over..first blood to Cantabs. Lovett added the extras to make it 0-7 to the travellers.
However, as it was expected Cambridge came back at us hard out of the blocks, with some hard running from their big men the pressure mounted and eventually they dotted down over the line to even the scores. Another Cambridge try before the half time meant they had their noses slightly ahead at the break. Some wise words from Skipper Mike Denman, a glug of water and we were back at it.
During the second half Cantabs forwards showed that a significantly smaller pack can compete in this game. Lineouts were functioning well, winning our throws courtesy of some accurate throwing from Wizza, ball stealing when possible and winning scrums against a pack that had boasted a combined 40 stone just in their hooker and tighthead prop alone. Unfortunately Cambridge rumbled over a few tries with some good play.
Like many a Cantab team before us we were not going to roll over and with strong running from our backs Lovett found some space to pop one over the line. Tom Heaver and Simon chased up and Cambridge was forced to put the ball into touch. Our lineout stood strong, from a catch and drive Matt Brown bundled over. Simon later came off for treatment to a blood injury, becoming some sort of a tradition for him when playing in this fixture and Matt Shepeard stepped up to the crease whilst the surgeon went to work on Si.
Cambridge would have scored again if it hadn’t had been for a try saving tackle from Ash. Cantabs spent the last 5 mins on the oppositions 5 metre line but despite many penalties given against the red and yellows it was fruitless and unfortunately the Exiles winger plucked a loose ball and scampered for the try line to finish the game.
Final score was 32 – 12 however this score line was rather flattering to the home side none the less Exiles played well and congratulations to them, as always we look forward to the return fixture. Man of the Match this week is Tom Heaver not only for his performance on the pitch this week but also for his commitment to club week in week out. Nat is spared Dick of the day this week as no one deserved this illustrious award that played. Instead it goes to those players that dropped out at the last minute, it would be nice if this could be avoided in future please.
2’s can take a lot of positives away from the day, tacking was greatly improved from the last game, discipline was good and heads never dropped to name a few of them.
Congratulations also to the ones’ for their victory in the league and big well done to those 11 players that started in the 2s this season and have stepped up, looks like those players that are missing are going to have to work hard to make it back in.
As write this I sit wondering how this season for the 2’s will be remembered, will we repeat cup glory of teams gone by? How many more years do I have left sharing the pitch with these boys? As I think this I hear a familiar voice say “always one more year”. What I do know is that I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.