March Bears 0 - 22 Cantabs
The mighty twos headed off to March this week for our second league encounter of the season, hoping to continue our winning ways. With Cantabs being 5 for 5, the pressure was on to perform.
A spilt lorry load of potatoes (yes, really) delayed the Cantabs convoy up to Fenland, cutting down our warm up time to just over half an hour. Despite the shortened start, our focus was great and we had time to work on our set pieces and come together with real intensity before the kick off. We welcomed Charlie Dellar for his first start for the two's at back row.
March won the toss and elected to receive, and Simon put boot to ball to kick off in near perfect rugby conditions. The first 10 minutes of Cantabs rugby was inspired, all of a sudden we had shaken off the mistakes of last week and looked like a team really intent on turning over a big March side. Our scrums were functioning well and Walliker was pulling the strings in the line out, with the C's stealing a great deal of opposition ball. Our dominant scrum paid dividends after 15 minutes with Skeggsy quickly recycling after a post scrum ruck to dive over.
Not long later we'd again worked our way up to the March try line, and once again it was Skeggs who crossed to make it 10-0, latching on to an incisive inside ball from Josh. All over the park players were putting in huge tackles and big runs, with the March defence struggling to contain our big men Darren and Walliker. Experience could also be found in the form of Tim Fitz, who had a monstrous game at hooker. If I'm still going at 40+ then I'd be happy to play half as well as Tim did. If only he could throw straight in the lineout...
Ed, Charlie and Ryan were doing the dirty work on the floor, winning penalties and making a real nuisance of themselves, providing good clean ball for Josh to feed the backs.
Simon was dictating play well at 10 and distributing clean ball to Kaz and Alex, and from one of these plays Cantabs broke through and made 30 metres toward the March line. We looked certain to convert, and Paul Graddage eventually danced through the line to touch down to the right of the posts. Simon converted and we found ourselves 17-0 up at half time.
Half time came with one change - Alex stepped aside to move Simon back in to the centres and give Chris West a shot at 10. It's difficult to move an unknown entity into such a key position but Chris didn't disappoint, he worked the ball out wide well and kicked us into great positions around the field.
10 minutes later we brought on Ed SD and Steve C, and it served as a real reminder that we have huge strength in depth at the club right now. Both helped us keep the March score at nil, working hard at the breakdown and in the tackles.
We'd threatened down the left a couple of times in the second half, but it took the magic step of Harri Beasley to finally jink his way down the line and put the game away in the corner, 22-0 and we were comfortable. In the last ten March really came back at us though, and they finally sorted out their misfiring scrum. Despite the surge, Cantabs held out for a much deserved win.
MOTM - I don't like giving man of the match to the try scorer, but in this case it was his work around the park that really secured it for Steve Skeggs. Skeggsy spent 80 minutes cutting March players in half, stealing lineout ball and filling into the back line when needed. Great to have him back in the fold.
'Giving Skeggsy the ball 5 yards out is like giving Deano an STD test - it's always gonna have a positive outcome' - Ed Kirkham, 2014
DOTD - the honour today goes to Chris Kelly. He had a really solid game at fullback, punctuated only by some offensively bad forward passes to our wingers....maybe he's trying to make them look bad?!
This is a season we can really put our mark on, let's keep the Cantabs machine rolling!