Beccles were the visitors at Sedley Taylor Road and having put paid to our promotion chances last season, a competitive game was expected. Neither Sammi (work) or Dwayne (shoulder) were available at centre so Irish James and Paul Pudney were on duty. Thom Bailey was back at hooker and John Lineham was being tried at 2nd row alongside Shed.
Cantabs kicked off and were soon in their stride, winning an early penalty which David Reed used to give us good position deep inside the Beccles 22 on the right. The lineout went to hand, Cantabs regrouped and suddenly Nick Denham was going over in the corner with a strong drive down the touchline. A difficult conversion from out wide was made by David; 7 - 0 after two minutes play.
From the restart, Beccles regained possession, tried to kick for the left hand corner, the kick was charged down and Aaron was onto the loose ball the quickest. He picked up around our 10m line, hacked on, re-gathered the bouncing ball and shot down the right wing, beating two attempts to tackle, to score in the same corner. Again David made the kick with his left boot; four minutes gone and Cantabs were 14 - 0 to the good.
Then it all went wrong! Those of the members who had been detained in the clubhouse with a pint to finish, must have thought they were watching another game. Francois prevented one break with a last man tackle following a long punt through the middle. Beccles regained possession and their strong running centre sliced through our defence to score in the corner; 14 - 5.
The next score also went to Beccles, with a pick up on halfway from David's clearance and with a fantastic turn of speed which left our defenders for dead. This time the try was under the posts and the conversion straightforward. 14 - 12 and Cantabs knew they were in a game.
Cantabs forwards then took over, phase after phase from the pack, brought play well into the Beccles 22. Isaia went close twice, but from 5m out it was left to Perksy to finish off. Unstoppable from that distance; again David made the extra to bring us to 21 - 12 after just 20 minutes.
By now, Beccles were finding it difficult to cope with our mauling and scrummaging. Paul Pudney left the field with a dead leg, bringing Drew Tilley into action. David kicked for the corner, we gathered the lineout through Pete Collins, the maul formed, a couple of drives for the line later and it was Isaia diving through a ruck of players to win our fourth try and the bonus point. Conversion again no problem; 28 - 12.
Perks had another great run out of defence, and generally Cantabs were now doing all the attacking. Francois showing his strength in the tackle, staying on his feet and dragging to tacklers along with him as he ran the ball back! The Beccles left winger then ran out of defence and it took a great saving tackle by our full back to bundle him into touch on our 22. Throughout the game the Beccles backs showed their willingness to run the ball at us and time and again looked dangerous. However it was Cantabs who made the next score, when Harri got clear on the left following another good scrum against the head and crossed the line giving David a reasonable chance for the extras, which he accepted. Score onto 35 - 12 as the referee blew for half time.
Seb Trower, still not quite recovered from a shoulder knock, came on for Ben James and soon showed that his pace was not lacking with some great direct running. Drew kicked well and made touch on the Beccles 22. Cantabs won the lineout with another great take from Pete Collins, again Harri went close but was tackled into touch two metres out from the left hand corner flag. Beccles took the throw after a lengthy treatment to their prop. The throw was again caught taken by Cantabs, and two drives later, our Italian bull Isaia was diving over for try number six. David made the kick to make the score 42 - 12 halfway through the half.
Charlie Searle replaced brother Dan at outside flanker, adding yet more power to the scrum. It was scrums which dominated the next five minutes. Time and again Cantabs tried to push the Beccles pack over. One scrum did succeed but Beccles got a hand to it first, and some of us thought a penalty try might have been awarded. Somehow Beccles withstood the onslaught to their pack's credit. Nick Denham was denied a second try when the final pass was deeded to have gone forward and Beccles breathed again, but were promptly back down scrummaging again! We took it against the head, Beccles were penalised. We elected to scrum but were held well, so moved the ball quickly out to the backs and Harri was the beneficiary with try number fourteen of the season. Again David made the conversion for seven out of seven; 49 - 12.
Beccles were not finished and fittingly they scored a well-deserved try in the corner from their powerful running centre; 49 - 17.
For the last ten minutes the scrums went uncontested, which took a lot of our advantage away. Shed made the line following yet another great rolling maul, but we were penalised for going offside as the maul reformed and Beccles managed to hold out and prevent further score. Harri should have made it a hat trick of tries but unaccountably dropped the ball. Final score 49 - 17. Another good win for Cantabs at home,with Cantabs improving their points for and against total but otherwise remaining second to Sudbury in the league.
We face a rejuvenated third place West Norfolk under lights next week and a classic game is promised for the last encounter of 2014. Zinzan Brooke and Paul Sampson are the home club's guests for this match and a large Christmas crowd is expected. Cantabs will have to be at their best to come away with a result.