Wholesale changes in the backs for this visit of Holt. Charlie Searle and Shed were also missing from the pack after the win at Ipswich last week. There were debuts in the starting lineup from Fergus Wilson and Ollie Townsend and two more on the bench with Rick Peters and Wyoming Jeffries. It was a bright windless day as Cantabs kicked off towards the clubhouse.
Holt returned the kick-off, James Hayward fielded it well and when his return was again booted forward, Dean caught and moved the ball left. Alex Rayner sped down the left wing from half way and showed a clean pair of heels to everyone, touching down under the posts with less than two minutes gone. From bang in front James' kick hit the post and stayed out; 5 - 0.
Somehow Cantabs then incurred a sequence of four penalties, and Holt had two chances to break their duck; firstly with an attempt at goal from close to half way. This and a further kick for goal from 35m failed to trouble the score board. Finn Morrison was quickly up to tackle when Holt threatened again. Cantabs pressed hard every time Holt had an opening and the visitors efforts came to nothing. For their part the Cantabs scrum was causing Holt a lot of trouble, but our pressure was spoilt by some selfish running and poor handling in the early attacks.
Fergus Wilson was pushed into touch in the left hand corner, Dean James also went close, but Holt's defence held firm. Finally, Cantabs gained a penalty and Hayward's kick set up a 5m lineout. Perksy peeled off the lineout but could not straighten his run and he was halted three metres out under the posts. We recycled to the left but our handling let us down and the chance had gone begging. Cantabs attacked again and this time Ben Salisbury thought he had made the line but was adjudged held up over the line. The Cantabs scrum gained a penalty, Richard Knight went for the quick tap, and Holt lost a man for 10 minutes for not retreating. Perksy called for another scrum and this time Richard Knight moved the ball out to Hayward. His run was decisive and he cut through the defence to score at the posts; 12 - 0 after 23 minutes.
Numbers were soon levelled; this time Pete Collins offending at the ruck on the edge of our 22. The penalty kick from their flyhalf was successful this time; 12 - 3.
At the restart Dean again caught the return kick and shipped the ball to Hayward. He ghosted off down the left making 30m into the Holt 22, but the move came to nothing. That was the last meaningful action of the half.
Pete Collins had to wait a couple of minutes before he could rejoin the action. Cantabs made all the early running in the second half passing the ball well and although the final ball to the left went into touch we were inside the Holt 22. We took their lineout through Jamie Williams, Alex Rayner again went close with another strong, weaving run but was tackled 5m out and knocked on. Cantabs took the ball against the head. Perksy got close with the first drive, and when the ball was recycled, Dean muscled his way over for try number three. James converted to make it 19 - 3 five minutes into the half. The restart kick failed to make it ten and Cantabs opted for a scrum. Before this could take place, James Balfe came on for Deano, Rick Peters for Ben Salisbury and Wyoming Jeffries for Jonny Heaver. Wyoming took up rugby last season when he moved to Cambridge from the USA, and has progressed from 3rds to 2nds this season.
We lost another score when we were penalised for crossing in front of goal, but the attacks were all one way now. The next try was soon to come, however. Hayward hit the line with a penalty. We took the lineout and went close, drawing the penalty for offside. Perksy opted for the scrum, and it was he that went close again, his body position allowing the ball to be recycled, and Tom Bailey finished the job for the front row scoring the try and our bonus point; 24 - 3.
Nothing would go right for Holt, they were losing the scrums and the lineouts, then painfully for the Holt men, Alex Rayner pulled a Norfolk pass out of the sky and was already celebrating as he sped over the ten metre line. Nobody got close to him, and he touched down under the posts; 31 - 3 with the conversion from James.
Dean came back on and immediately went close to decapitating the ball carrier as he sprinted into the tackle. Dean left the field. Perksy followed him, but this time it was voluntary - Jonnie Heaver back on at prop. Holt put in a rare attack with a good kick down the left but Finn Morrison was the quickest to the ball, avoided being taken over the line and was strong enough to set the ball up in the ruck. Richard cleared to Hayward and his kick from the dead ball area went into touch outside our 22. That was it as far as Holt were concerned.
Alex Rayner broke through the middle, brought Peters into the move on the left, Finn took over and Cantabs were under the posts just 10m out. The ball was moved out wide to the right, we gained a 5m scrum. Deano rejoined the fray for the closing minutes and suddenly there was Alex Rayner scything through the defence for his hat trick try. James converted and we were home and dry at 38 - 3. Sir finally called time with the Holt left winger requiring treatment.
That makes it seven league games without defeat for Cantabs and when you think we have Nick Denham, David Bloxsum, Tom Skelton, Francois Eve, Paul Pudney, Euan Willder, Patrick Carson and Jonny Regan all looking to fit into the backs; Glen Remnant has a multitude of attacking options to choose from for our next game away to Romford and Gidea Park in two weeks time.
It was also good to see Dan Searle coming back on for 30 minutes for the 3rds just six weeks after his cartilage operation. Sami Kiddidromo was also back in action for the 3rds in his first league outing of the season. Cantabs really do have some strength in depth these days.