Despite starting the league with a great away win, things have been a little unsettled for us in the 2s camp over the last few weeks. Injuries and unavailibilities throughout the club have meant that our starting line up has varied hugely from week to week, and perhaps it is this lack of strucure that cost us in the recent games against the local big 3 of Cambridge, Shelford and Cottenham. Anyway, my attention is now focused on working our way back up the table as I arrive at the clubhouse to find a strong and enthusiastic squad talking about gaining a big win on home turf.
Our warm up was well executed - the best hands, chat and team run throughs we have displayed yet this season and the 2s took this momentum straight to Sawston when the whistle blew. The first 15 minutes were all Cantabs, with debutant Dave the Shed making a huge impact, acting as a battering ram on our crash balls and gaining significant ground. Our backline was also functioning effectively, with Tozer and Harri partnering up for a couple of very close efforts. Sadly this was all brought to a halt following a scramble for the ball in the loose, when one of Sawstons men went down and badly injured his leg (we later found out he broke both his tib and fib and required an operation). This brought the game to a standstill while an ambulance came and tended to the injured player. The stoppage caused Cantabs momentum to slow slightly, and once the game had resumed Sawston managed to find their way to our try line. The conversion was missed. Cantabs had some defending to do for a while before Josh, slightly against the run of play, found a hole in the opposition line and made a decent break. Good support from youngster Nathaniel Jani meant that Cantabs were able to convert this time, with Josh adding the points to make it 7-5. The game slowed, our scrum wasnt really making any impact on Sawston (although I must thank Justin for stepping in at front row, I know he hates it) but the half played out with both teams gaining another score. Sawston managed to crash their way over our line despite our best efforts and Josh managed to slot a penalty to make it 10-10 halftime.
We brought on Alex SW, newcomer Stefan and Ryan Barry on as fresh legs in the back 3 and we started the second half with a bit of renewed confidence. However 5 minutes in, injury struck once again. Sawston’s no. 5 went down with a neck injury and naturally the referee stopped the game once more for the arrival of the emergency services. After 10 minutes or so we decided with the opposition that we would play out the rest of the match on the 2nd pitch so that we could get going again. Trying to get our minds back in the game, we were met by a Sawston pack who had grown hungry. The 2s defence was good, and we certainly stopped a few tries from being scored but the opposition pack were well organised at the line out and managed to score twice from the set piece close to our line. Bring on Matt Shepherd, Alex Jefferey and Chris Cutler. With fifteen minutes to go and following a few handbags, we managed to get ourselves going again with Cantabs on the attack against some big old boys. A quickly taken penalty on their 22 showed our renewed intent and I managed to smash my way across the line with 3 minutes left on the clock. However we could not manage another and the final score was 22-15.
I think we all finished the game feeling pretty dissapointed with the result... we knew we should have won but once again we had managed to find a reason to let our heads drop. Its not good to see players taking bad injuries, so I hope those two Sawston lads recover quickly. I think the injuries gave Sawston some motivation to win the game for their teammates, while the stoppages cost us our concentration. Several good points from this weeks game - physicality was good, we looked really strong in parts, and some of the new players to the club have started making quite an impression on the field. Man of the match was Shed, who had a brilliant game and promises to be a real asset to the club. Dick of the day was Nat obviously.
Cantabs has a fantastic training setup at the moment and I urge all players to make the effort to get down, it makes a huge difference. We need to gain some consistency and learn to keep our match heads on for the full 80 minutes. Im expecting a big result next week when we take on Cambridge Exiles in the cup.