At last a game! Four weeks of flooded pitches had even moved training indoors so Cantabs were raring to go for this one. Also a chance for Cantabs to avenge those two early season defeats down at Sudbury in consecutive weeks.
Spanish newcomer Pedro Pascal on the bench following some good showings in the 2nds. Cantabs now truly cosmopolitan, a Frenchman at fullback, Irishman at outside centre, a Fijian at inside centre, New-Zealander at blindside, and an Italian prop on the bench. Bevan Whyte had returned from a month back in NZ, and that meant Ben James had also reverted to the bench, to give Mick Jones the strength in depth he would doubtless require for this one
Cantabs kicked off towards the clubhouse in bright warm conditions on a soft but perfectly playable surface. Cantabs soon made their intentions clear with a concerted assault on the visitors line, and but for a dropped pass, five metres out from the posts, would surely have opened their account.
Within three minutes Finn suffered a cut to the face when he clashed with Drew's boot, which brought our Spaniard into the game; Finn running off to casualty.
Five minutes into the game, Sudbury had still not entered our half and were caught offside just outside the 22, to the right of the posts. Jack Sykes was up to the task, with his kick going in off the posts. Cantabs opened their account. The first scrum of the match, allowed Euan the room and his kick from our 10m line found the touch line inside the Sudbury 22. Another offside and another penalty struck beautifully by Jack made the score 6 - 0, after 10 minutes.
The Sudbury flyhalf was now showing his class with some deft kicking over our defence to set up good attacking opportunities, but our lineout was winning the early exchanges with Bevan catching well.
Next decent attack came from the visitors with their diminutive right winger showing great speed out of his own half, and just tackled ten metres out from our line. Cantabs defended well to clear the danger. Francois was again showing his strength, first ripping the ball away and then running out of defence to return another kick over the top; no thought of kicking clear from our fullback!
Cantabs were now using their pack to good effect, competing well in the loose and dominating the scrums. Sudbury always looked dangerous on the break but our tackling was up to the task. Play finally brought us to within 10m of the Sudbury line yet again. Our scrum and Rich Ford looked to have control as the scrum moved towards the line. Then on 5m the ball squeezed, out and the Sudbury flanker pounced on it, the ball was passed back to the fullback and his kick was partially charged down. Shed charged forward from 20m out and Sudbury brought him down ten metres from the line. Rich Ford seized his chance when Jack Sykes recycled the quick ball, passing it out to the skipper to weave his way over the line and score ten metres out from the left touchline. Again, Jack was on target; 13 - 0 and only minutes from half time.
A deserved scoreline for our pressure and dominance in the first half.
Two substitutions at halftime brought on Ben James for Dan Searle at flanker and Isaia Barbieri for Jonnie Heaver at prop. The Sudbury flyhalf then made his first error of the game with his restart dropout failing to go the regulation 10m. Cantabs duly won their scrum, Jack kicked for touch but failed, and Drew had to shovel the ball into safety. The Sudbury lineout was plucked out of the air by Bevan, we started to roll the maul rolling forward. Then 25m out it stalled, Rich Ford at the back of the maul, hesitated, looked round and decided to run with it. Somehow, nobody got near him, he made the line with ease, Jack kicked a lovely conversion and Cantabs were clear at 20 - 0.
Cantabs were now well on top and should have gone further ahead. Sammi made yet another decisive break, found Irish James on his shoulder and he raced into the Sudbury 22. Then inexplicably we passed the ball a further three times ten metres out from the line; a case of "No, you have this one". The Sudbury defence regained the ball and the chance was lost. A knock on gave us yet another chance, with a scrum to Cantabs on 5m. However, again we lost control at the back of the scrum, Sudbury kicked clear.
Sudbury were then caught offside on the edge of their 22, and Jack made no mistake to make it 23 - 0.
Next move from Cantabs produced the try of the match. Francois fielded the ball just outside his own 22, he skated past four defenders, moving diagonally towards the left wing. Francois brought Sammi into the action, who ran into the 22, passing to Irish who switched play towards the right and found Isaia just ten metres out on his shoulder. The prop was not going to be stopped and dived over for a great team try. Jack again made no mistake and lost the second ball to the railway; 30 – 0 and Sudbury well and truly under the cosh.
Cantabs continued to defend well, and a passage of play saw first Cantabs and then Sudbury threatening to score. Sudbury finally got on the score sheet with Cantabs run ragged as their right winger dived over in the corner for a consolation try. Rich rang the changes in the final ten minutes with Sammi feeling his knee, and Rich also taking a well earned rest, Jonnie and Dan returned to the fray, but Cantabs could not increase their lead.
Final score 30 - 5.
Cantabs were by far the better side on the day, Sudbury missed their young captain, who kicked superbly in the previous two games. The only dampener on our performance was our failure to secure that bonus point for the fourth try. Bevan Whyte was nominated by Rich as player of the match. Frankly all ten forwards on show were superb and made life hard for the Sudbury pack throughout.
Well, that's my version of events. If you want to read what really went on grab a copy of the Cambridge News for Tuesday's edition when Cantabs will feature in Mark Taylor's rugby page - photos as well!