(by the Report Monkey)
Despite a few last minute player losses to the 2s, the 3s squad was still looking strong as we arrived to play our final league fixture of the season. The strength and depth in players has been phenomenal this season and newcomer Simon L brings the total number of players to step on the pitch for the 3s to 81 so far this season (77 in the league). So before I get to the game I would like to thank every one of you for putting your body on the line for the Mighty 3s.
To the game - St Ives were a man short a kick off so Tom C stepped over to keep the numbers fair. Unfortunately Ives had not been able to source a front row so the scrums were to go uncontested for the day. Given the powerhouse we had assembled this was a bit of a disappointment, as I was quite looking forward to watching them work (another time I guess).
Cantabs kicked off and it was not long until we had gained possession and were making our pressure felt, with the forwards testing the metal of the Ives defence with a barrage of crashing runs, to their credit Ives held strong. It was Keith who eventually broke the deadlock with one of his world renowned thundering runs, from 20m out and with a full head of steam there was only ever going to be one outcome. Darren nudged the extras 7-0.
Thanks to some great team work we found ourselves knocking on the door again not long after the restart, and as the forwards bludgeoned their way to with-in inches of the line, I suppose it was only fair that Justin ignored the screams to get the ball out to either of the overlaps on the wings, to dive over the ruck and claim the glory (why do forwards never trust the backs??). Extras again for Darren 14-0.
It was the pure backs magic for the next score as Craig and Chris combined to razzle and dazzled (I'm not sure which one is razzle and which dazzle!) their opposite numbers, Chris then chipped, chased, collected and scored, simples. 19-0.
Craig was next on the sheet (only just), after one of his standard full pitch breaks from the half way line (left wing to right wing across then all the way over), he got over the line back then out again as he tried to gain on the sticks, and finally back over again to dot down his 10th of the season for the 3s. Darren collecting his last extras of the day 26-0.
The Forwards machine were next to power their way to the scoreboard in what I'm sure if I could remember it was an awesome try for Darren (for arguments sake lets say it was a 60m run through 27 player!). 31-0.
Chris ended the scoring for the half, and I must apologise again as I can't remember the details but I'm sure it was epic!! 36-0.
St Ives had threatened throughout to score and it had taken some awesome tackling to stop several well worked breaks (Ash catching and stopping their centre was my favourite), and I feel the score does not do justice to their stopping power.
Personal high/low-light of the half, I guess I can not avoid reporting my failure to score, as I attempted to fight my way over the line from inches out. Only to have the ball knocked from my hand as I stretched out to get it down, the closest I had come all season! Sad times!
Finn came on for Pedro who had been a constant menace in the centre and then on the wing. A light miscommunication meant it would be 10 minutes of the 2nd before Tom C and Matthias would swap round to give Tom some blue and white time (I blame the matching beards). James joined the Ives ranks to keep the numbers level after they lost a man to injury.
Joe was next over the line, as I remember it (so possibly not what happened at all) the team had worked well and got a scrum 5 m out and Joe picked and went from the back saw a space and made it his. 41-0.
Justin's second came in much the same vain as his first the team worked us forward to the line, screams went out for the overlaps, Justin ignored them and pounced over for the points. 46-0.
Finally after 860 minutes of rugby this season my time came. The team worked us to their 10m and some slick hands from Kaz and Chris left me with one to beat, and beat him I did (just), big thanks to all the guys on this one they knew how desperate I was to score and this was one of many plays they tried to work with the sole purpose of setting me up. I got a bit cocky and tried for the kick... missed by bit! 51-0.
Going into the last 20 Chris swapped with James to give him some minutes in Cantabs colours. And he claims the next 15 mins were thanks to his influence as St Ives seemed to wake up and scored 4 tries on the trot! As much as I would like to use this as a lesson for us not to switch off I think that they deserved each one. Some silly errors on our side but they had been threatening through-out and I'm glad in a way they got some points on the board for their efforts.
The final try of the game came from George, learning the ways from Justin by all accounts. Waking up from Ives 4 try flourish we returned to form with the team working well to take us to the line and as the pressure mounted and we worked the overlaps, it was George who ignored the screams to get it out and dived over the ruck to score his first try in Cantabs colours. A deserved reward for his 2 seasons of service. I am still not a kicker 56-24.
Big thanks to Ives for giving us 80 mins of solid battle.
Personal highlight of the second, should be one of the great breaks of crunching hits made by pretty much every player. But just for comedy value (and taking the shine off of my missed chance). It has to be Kaz's missed chance. Tackled round the legs inches from the line he stretched out to take his score... only to see the ball soar from his hand.
MoM never gets easier to select, and when every player to a man plays to the level they did this week I could easily cop out and award it to all 18! For me though this week I will awarding Chris Kelly, his work rate was non stop and he set me up for a try!
DoD could have gone to me or Kaz for our fails, Justin for his deafness. But for his answering back to sir, Darren hang your head!
Sportsman of the week, there were many great examples of sportsmanship this week. Though for noticing I had failed to bring one of his brothers back over to the blue and white and volunteering to take his place, Matthias take a well deserved bow.