With the result of the league opener against Walden going our way, we knew that they would be keen to give us a proper battle as we met for the first round of the cup. And when they arrived it was clear to see by their rejuvenated numbers that we were not wrong.
From the kick off it was made even clearer that we were not wrong, as they scored 2 tries in quick succession.
But it is with great pride in the new 3s spirit that I can report that rather than this being a the point where our heads dropped and we opened the doors for a hammering, this seemed to put fire in the bellies of every man in blue and white and from this point on the game was one of the best battles I have enjoyed in my brief rugby career.
Cantabs worked themselves in to Waldens 22 through some great team work, I think all 15 of us either ran the ball or protected it in the ruck to get it there. And when Walden conceded a penalty Ollie pounced on the opportunity to muscle his way over the line.5-14.
Walden were quick to reply with some fast hands and faster feet to score a well worked try. 5-19.
Cantabs rallied again and worked our way crash by crash, and run by run as Walden made us work for every inch. As our pressure got us all the way to the try line it was Shaggy who picked from the back of a ruck, and dived into the smallest of gaps left by their defence to score our second.10-19.
The remainder of the half was a battle of wills with both sides applying more than enough pressure to break a lesser side, but with neither side backing down the half ended 10-19.
Highlights of the first half was the spirit of the entire team with all players getting involved in all elements of the game, and the tackle rate was phenomenal by all but key hits by Ash and some big crunches by Ollie were my favourites.
The only change at half time was Jim on for Carr (who had injured his hand battling like a warrior, heal well mate).
Not long into the half Deller took the ball from their line-out on our 22, he then carried our a demonstration in power and pace as he muscled and sprinted his way to dot down behind the posts. 15-19. This was unfortunately as close as we could take the score as Walden scored several more in return. Though they were all, as I remember them well worked overlaps by them, rather than the silly missed tackles of old.
There were a few more changes made with Matt coming on for Sacha, John on for Me, an Injured Justin came on for a more injured Dan. And making his first appearance in 11 months Deano decided the time was right to test out his leg with a bit of game time (Rands came off and Robbo moved to center).
Walden scored a couple more round the edge before we could get some pressure going ourselves. And it was Deano whose quick thinking (and will to run at their large 12) that powered his way though/over.
Now there is an bit of confusion with the final score as the ref had it at 27-38, but no one seems to remember a 5th try scorer for us. So either sir put a tally in the wrong box or we have all suffered a group amnesia! If Walden have more try scorers than their score reflects then they are welcome to have it back, If not as Capt I will do the gracious thing and claim it for myself.
Highlights of the second half, the continuation of the team spirit and the tackling were truly awesome. And it was great to see Deano's return to the field, Cantabs is one brother stonger once more.
Comedy moment, Matt running straight across the pitch giving a Walden man the change to line up the dream hit! (you took it like a hero though Matt).
No DoD this week as everyone was awesome.
MoM, to be honest I don't think I will ever get bored of saying that MoM could have gone to any man on the pitch. There was not a player in Blue and White that did put there body on the line over and over. That being said Ash I feel had probably the best game I have ever seen him play, so I feel that this week it is take a bow Ash time!
Due to the performances by all I feel that every man deserves a mention this week;
George - provided stability in the scrums and loved a crash or 20 with the ball.
Tim F - still getting around the park more than players half his age, hero.
Danny - one man ruck machine, and only minimal naughtiness.
Tim C - body on the line literally.
Dan - played past the point his body wanted to, still 100% attendance.
Deller - power and glory, a mobile rugby masterclass.
Ollie - a one man tackle monster, more big hits than the Beatles.
Shaggy - Cantabs passion in human form. Loves tackles more than I love cake!
Robbo - played like only Robbo can, grace under pressure.
Kaz - played with more precision than one of his watches.
Me - I didn’t miss a tackle! (I am just as amazed as the rest of you!)
Finn - great runs, punched more holes than Tyson.
Rands - no try this week (only 11 from 11 now!!), did make some great runs and big hits though!
Sacha - faster than a really fast thing! Was unlucky not to be rewarded for some lovely breaks.