It was second place Old Cooperians against third place Cantabs for our last home of the campaign in front of a good crowd on Family Day at Sedley Taylor Road. CUDRRS had done the occasion proud by providing three officials. Cantabs kicked off towards the railway and Cantabs forwards soon made progress into the opposition 22, but a fantastic break by the Coopers left winger saw him run practically the length of the pitch to touch down under the posts. However, an eahle-eyed touch judge brought play back to the Cantabs 10m line for a foot in touch and Cantabs could breathe again.
A penalty for a maul infringement gave Coopers another chance to open their account, but the penalty fell short from 35m out. Cantabs followed up with a great scrum, showing their intention. Clearly this game was going to be our pack versus the Old Coopers backs. Another scrum won against the head, saw Rich Ford pick up and go for the line from 25m. He got his pass away to Jack Sykes, who dived over in the corner, but was tackled into the flag for a five metre lineout.
Cantabs continued to press, but the Old Coopers backs got into their strideand again released their left winger from deep inside their own half. This time he made no mistake, out sprinting all attempts to tackle and again touched down under the posts. Easy conversion made and the score was 0 - 7, with Cantabs crowd silenced after 15 minutes.
Cantabs scrum again looked too good for Coopers and winning another against the head, we finally got the ball out wide on the right for Finlay Wilson to five over in the corner making the score 5 - 7. Warren Cowan set up the next score with a great pick up and drive from the ruck handing off three tacklers and gaining a penaltyten metres out on the right. Cantabs elected for the scrum and Coopers were not able to stop our drive, with the whole pack over the line it was a simple chance for flanker Ben James to dive in for the touch down. Jack made the kick from out wide and Cantabs were back in the driving seat at 12 - 7; with 23 minutes gone.
Francois Eve was the next to threaten the line but was tackled into touch just ten metres out from the left hand corner flag. Cantabs again pressed hard on the left and Harri Beasley hesitated a fraction too long and again was tackled into the corner flag. At this stage Cantabs were doing all the pressing and Coopers were defending desperately; bodies on the line. Their tight head went off after one such tackle and never rejoined the game. antabs again pressed down the left then switched play out the right wing and caught Coopers off side. Rich Ford limped off to be replaced by Pete Collins, with Ben moving to No 8. We hought we should have gone for touch in the corner, but Jack went for goal from 30m. The ball faded past the far post, where Harri Beasley following up touched down to the bewilderment of the Coopers defence. The touch judge on the goal line confirmed the score. Jack took another pot and goal; this time successfully and Cantabs were ahead at 19 - 7. Half time.
Samisoni Kiddidromo came on for Harri at the break and Italian prop, Isaia Barbieri replaced Jonnie Heaver at prop. Coopers pushed hard from the outset and soon gained a penalty centrally 25m out. This opportunity was spurned and Cantabs were off the hook. Then from a lineout just inside our half their right winger burst clear, avoiding two desperate attempts to tackle him and scored in the corner. 19 - 12 and game on again.
Sami made a good break down the left and a following scrum to Cantabs where Coopers were penalised for foot up saw Cantabs move within 5m of the opposition line. Coopers were again defending well, but we finally were awarded a penalty out on the left wing. Jack's kick fell short and Coopers kicked clear only to see Francois run the ball back again up to the 22. Rich Ford replaced Ben at No 8 for the last quarter of the game and rejoined the pack for a scrum ten metres out. Eventually the pressure told and two phases later it was isaia who made the line for our bonus point and the fourth try. 24 - 12 to Cantabs and surely enough with 12 minutes to the whistle. However, Coopers were not done, and again got the ball out to their flying right winger who ran from his own half, breaking through three tackles to dive over in the corner. This time the conversion kick was well struck and the score moved to 24 - 19.
Cantabs blasted forward again from the restart with Dave Evershed, Charlie Searle and Perksy making good ground and drawing the penalty on the edge of the Boopers 22. Up stepped Jack and slotted the kick, for a eight point gap at 27 - 19. At which point we had five league points and Coopers had nil. This fact was obviously not lost on them, as they threw caution to the wind taking a tap penalty, and moved the ball out wide, where their right winger completed a great hat trick of tries, again skating in from his own half, with no Cantabs defenders able to touch him! Score now 27 - 24.
There was no further score, despite a last ditch attempt from Cantabs to get their big mem over the line in the right hand corner. The whistle went with Cantabs forwards threatening as they had done all afternoon. A great game with both teams loudly applauded off the pitch.
This result moved Cantabs back into 2nd but with an identical number of points, Old Cooperians can make their game in hand count to gain the second promotion spot. Cantabs have one gamme left at champions Campion next week.