Since the frustrating loss to Haverhill at the start of November, Cantabs 2's have secured three convincing wins. A look at the teamsheet before the game showed promise that a fourth may be on the cards, with a Deano-Euan pairing to get the people talking. Saffron Walden 2s are probably our closest opposition so this was shaping up to be a quality game, despite the early announcement that scrums would be uncontested.
It was very windy over on the Long Road pitch and things took a while to settle. The kick off was knocked on and a few chances fell through the hands. Saffron Waldens ran with the ball in hand for a few crashes but couldn't penetrate. The first spark for Cantabs came when Deano put in one of his trademark smashes to force a knock on. Darren got the ball and made 20 metres before throwing an audacious offload for Puds to run in. Not too challenging a coversion for Euan - 7-0.
Cantabs had woken up and it turns out they had brought thier hands. From the restart Deano put in a high box kick which carried in the wind, Dan put on the burners and secured the ball, Pete carried, moved it to Tozer who puts Paul in for his second. Another simple conversion 14-0.
Saffron Walden were carrying hard, with strong running from thier 10 and 12. Cantabs defence was holding out, but not completely legally in the eyes of the ref. Penalised 5m out from our own line, Walden ran 10 phases and gain another penalty. They ran again but eventually Cantabs steal the ball and Euan clears the pressure with the aid of the wind.
A SW lineout went astray for Pete to collect and move to Jonny H, who bagged himself a try with a classic crashing run. Also a shout out to that enormous hand off - take a bow, Jonny. Great conversion in this breeze - 21-0.
Cantabs were running off shoulders, hitting gaps and supporting each other. A turnover in midfield went from Tim to Darren to Nat who shipped out to Craig 15 metres out - a sidestep and a try. Conversion not so good - 26-0.
The backline were on fine form and finding space all over the park. Deano took a tap penalty on halfway and threw a huge pass out to Euan who released Dom on a powerful 40m run to the line. Conversion just wide 31-0
Cantabs pace continued and Dan went on a probing run to put Deano up to within a metre of the line, close but not quite. However a few minutes later Tozer took a crash ball through and put in the cheekiest of offloads to send Nat crashing over. Euan swings the conversion in for 38-0
Cantabs didn't want the half to finish. Key defenders Pete, Dan and Laurence were relentless and Euan was dealing with his oversized opposite number well. With the ball in hand Cantabs raised the game and moved through 5 or 6 phases of smart running and rucking for Deano to waltz through for the last play of the half - 45-0
Jake, Fin and Chris on at half time, and Cantabs hoping for more of the same. From the kick off Jake's fresh, cosy warm legs got him to the tackle first, but play was stopped and he was told to remove his tights by Sir.
Once back on, Jake made a great run and threw a long offload from the floor to Euan who slyly wound his way through and put Alex in to score in the corner. Kick just short - 50-0
This is when Walden woke up, they were surely missing a couple of regulars but were not about to be nilled. SW's continued running was starting to earn them penalties as Cantabs discipline slipped. They had a forwards try held up, but continued to batter the home team's tryline enough for Pete to be shown a yellow for not releasing. They crashed over moments later. 50-7
The pace had slipped a little from Cantabs game and unforced errors appeared - Walden opting to use the uncontested scrum to thier advantage whilest a man up for most penalties. Lots of defending to be done until aginst the run of play, Cantabs turn over and the hands of the back line allow Fin to stride the 60 metres to the try line - a rejuvinating score for Cantabs. Unfortunately the referee couldn't quite keep up Fins pace and injured his knee, meaning that the last 10 minutes of the game would be overseen by one of Waldens travelling party.
With Walden looking like scoring again, and Jonny R and Alex both having to deal with a couple of sticky situations, Puds managed to steal the ball a few metres out from the line. A hard grubber kick was chased and retained and yet again the backline execute perfectly to set Fin free on the wing. 62-7.
The final score was a quick penalty that was taken by Walden to catch Cantabs completely off gaurd. By the time we realised what was going on, they were fiishing the move. A frustrating end to a brilliant game 62-12.
This was an outstanding win against a team who we often struggle to overcome. The subs made a strong impact, 9 & 10 controlled the game, backs ran straight and forwards put in quite a shift. We have been playing smart, adaptive rugby throughout the whole club recently and the strength and depth within the squad has meant that at the midpoint of the season The 2s are sitting in the top 3 of the table - a solid achievement. Enjoy the break lads!