Cantabs 2s traveled to Haverhill this week looking to build on last weeks away win against Saffron Walden. Laurence returned from his stint with the 1s to captain the side from 8 and Denman took up the hooker shirt. At scrum half, Will was given a run out after an impressive showing for the 3s last weekend and Rick and Jamie lined up out wide for their first 2s appearances this season.
The pre match rain cleared up leaving the ground pleasantly soft and the sun came out to greet the teams as they emerged from the changing rooms. Lovett kicked off and Cantabs pressurised the catch but struggled to shackle the Haverhill runners from the outset and a couple of missed tackles found them retreating. The ball was nudged through by Haverhill, Josh and Laurence made it back to clear up the ball which was shifted on to restart the Cantabs attack, However the pullback pass to Lovett was well read by Haverhills inside centre who was able to charge down the kick and dot down for the first points on the board. The try was suitably converted and Cantabs were 7-0 down.
The Blue and White scrum was functioning well, with the front row of Tozer, Denman and Tommy able to get underneath there opposite numbers and make every ball a contest for Cantabs and were unlucky not to receive more plaudits in the first half.
Cantabs lineout was also operating well, disrupting Haverhill ball and securing our own, but Haverhill were looking dangerous when their 10 and 12 combined and life was made difficult for Cantabs and some strong running soon saw them breaking tackles and adding another try, again converted. 14-0
Rick and Chris were able to combine well to pressurise and a solid offload put Rick away into the left corner to get Cantabs on the board, the difficult kick from Lovett not quite finding its mark. 14-5
A scrum just outside the Haverhill 22 was well won by Cantabs and Laurence claimed the ball from the back and set off down the blindside, going close but being eventually held up by 2m short. Haverhill secured their scrum and cleared under pressure but the ball was gathered by Jamie who ran left to right, found a hole and with Josh and Will in support offloaded to Will to notch up Cantabs 2nd 14-10.
Haverhill were again running strongly and despite good work from Matt, Tommy and Charlie, the runners werent being brought to ground effectively, allowing Haverhill to progress up field and again another try came in the right hand corner, the conversion was short but Cantabs were now up against a 19-10 score line.
Despite their best efforts Cantabs were not able to get back on the board before the end of the half and finally Rick was dragged into touch for the half time whistle.
A few words at half time focussed on Cantabs gaining a bit of composure and ensuring that we protected Will at the base of the ruck, were he was receiving significant attention from the Haverhill back row. New Recruit Graham came on in the centres for Luke.
Cantabs received the kick off and progressed up field, and were rewarded with a penalty which Lovett nudged into the corner. Laurence claimed the ball in the line but the drive was haulted before strong running in the midfield restarted Cantabs progress and when Tozer was hauled down 5 metres out the forwards took over with Matt making the touch down. 19-15.
Feeling the scoreline close Haverhill opted for there next two penalties in the Cantabs half to go for goal, one of which found its mark, making it 22-15 and made Cantabs check there discipline
As haverhill pressed yet again, Graham stepped up for the hit on the Haverhill outside centre but dog leg inside was spotted and Haverhills 12 glided through the space to notch up another try just to the right of the posts, with the kick making it 29-15.
Cantabs took the kick off quickly and were able to pressurise but not retrieve the ball. Haverhill put the boot onto it and Cantabs had a chance to attack from deep, with the ball recycled through the hands to the left before Chris saw the gap, stepped back inside and dotted down under the posts, the conversion added to take the scores to 29-22 with it looking set for a tight finish.
Tim came on to replace Wy and Cantabs were turned over at the kick off and back onto defensive duties. As the ball moved to the left the tackle came in and Cantabs forwards swarmed to the breakdown to attempt the turnover and in the act Tims boot collided with the head of a Haverhill player after everyone calmed down, Tim was shown a Red Card and the Haverhill player dismissed with a yellow for his reaction. Both sides would finish the game with 14.
With play resumed the ball was dabbed over the Cantabs defence and bounced awkwardly as Lovett looked to re-gather, doing so on the second time of trying. The clearing kick was again charged down and dotted down in a scramble over the line. 34-22
With minutes left on the clock Cantabs knew they had to throw caution to the wind and frenetic link play saw the ball move across the pitch with Graham, Tozer, and Chris combining well to put Rick away in the corner for a consolation score. Final score 34-27
Some very good individual performances but Cantabs looked disjointed at times but plenty of positives to build on as we prepare to take on Shelford at home next week. Tommy, Matt and Jamie all had excellent games and Chris Kelly spent the entire game as a writhing bundle of energy. Will had a solid game at scrum half and Denman performed admirably in his switch to hooker. Graham was a welcome addition to the back line and showed some great awareness to play heads up rugby, hopefully he can recover from his last minute knock to the ribs and take to the pitch again soon
DOTD was set to go to Lovett who had a game he would rather forget but Tim valiantly stepped up to the plate and receives this weeks award
MOTM could have been any of a few this week but for playing a blinder, then breaking both of his wrists and not realising and playing on, Tommy Marr take a bow!
Haverhill 34 (19)
Cantabs 27 (10)
Tries (5): Peters 2, Kelly, McFadyan, Pryce,
Conversions (1): Lovett