Before I get to the actions on the field I would like to give a special mention to Mike Denman for his organisational skills ensuring we got 3 sides out this week.
With many new faces in the club this year the eagerness to get some game time was demonstrated by nearly every player not only being on time for the meet but in most cases early. As long as this eagerness translated to the pitch I could tell that it was going to be a good day.
As my first game at captain I was hoping for an easy team selection, this did not happen. With no players that normally play 1, 2, 10, or 13, decisions had to be made as to where to play the 5 flankers and 3 second row players I did have. Not sure how the maths worked out but we managed to start with only 4 players out of their normal positions.
From the start we elected to kick off as everyone loves a free hit. We applied the pressure and came away with the ball (If memory serves from one of the many great ruck clear outs of the day), the ball got wide to Sacha how had a lightening run down his wing flying past tackles to finally be stopped just outside their 20. The forwards crashed and crashed and earned a penalty that Justin took quickly, bounced the Haverhill prop to the ground and charged over the line 5-0 Cantabs, there was no conversions made in the game due to the fact that although we all like to think we are Wilko none of us are!!
For the next 25 mins the tide turned and Haverhill kept the ball and us pinned in our own half. But for those 25 mins I witnessed some of the best defensive play I have ever seen in the 3s. Every player to a man making tackle after tackle, those who could not quite bring the man down holding him up for the next to bring down. Special mention in this period goes to Tim, Matt, Darren, Jack, Doug, Dan, Deller, Justin, Craig, Wayne, Finn, Ryan, Sacha and Ash (yes I know I could have said every one). Though my personal favourite hits were Ryan clearing out a ruck so hard Sir decided it must have been a pen, and Ryan hitting their centre so hard he split both their heads.
After all that action Shaggy came on for Tim so his lungs could catch up!
Eventually we regained possession of the ball for long enough to take action with Craig getting the ball on the left hand side of the pitch on the half way line, he then chose do dodge and dance his way pretty much straight across to the right hand side of the half way line before turning to run (with a bestseller of a dummy) to run the half of the pitch to score in the corner, well supported to the 3 players who went with him, but as soon as he was past the last men we may of well sat down and watched! He asked me to report it as a half pitch run but if you include the side to side bit it was closer to a full length run. The score saw the end off the half 10 -0.
Now unfortunately being an older model I used most of my memory capability for the first half so forgive me if I have the try scorer order or events leading up to them wrong.
I believe the first try of the half started with Justin winning the ball from a Haverhill ruck, Craig then went on a darting run drawing in several opposition before offloading to me I then drew a few players into tackling me (It took at least 3 of them to bring down my new weightier form). A couple of crash balls later and Jack charged through to score is first ever try on his birthday and Cantabs debut, 15-0.
The next try followed a similar pattern, this time Justin had a pick an go from a scrum off loaded to Craig who danced and dodged, passed to Wayne who stormed through several defenders to open his account for the season 20 – 0.
Our final try went to Deller on his Cantabs debut, Craig passed the ball to Wayne a little on the low side (not for the first or last time in the game), Wayne expertly volleyed the ball over the charging defence (not for the first or last time in the game), a great chase by Deller saw him collect the ball then rip through what was left of the defence to score. 25-0.
Haverhill then came at us again for the final 10/15 mins of the game but solid defending again meant they could not get to the line.
Final whistle 25-0 not a bad start to the season.
My personal second half highlights were Shaggy’s tackle which was so good the ref stopped the game for safety reasons. And the little person toss!!
Credit to the Haverhill side who never let their heads drop and made us work for every bit of space. Good luck for the season.
Thanks to all the guys who played out off position for some/all of the game. And apologies if your deeds did not make it to the report they should have done you were awesome!! Pretty sure every player got both a big hit and a crashing run in, some had many.
Man of the Match
Could have gone to anyone but due to him playing out of position for the whole game and doing it like a boss (even with a first half injury that halved his tackling powers), this week take a bow Wayne Moss.
Dick of the Day
The only real floor in our game was the line out throw (1 out of many being straight), however as Matt was forced into doing it, I will take full responsibility and award Myself.
(by the report monkey)