Cantabs 2nd team traveled a short way into Suffolk to face off against Haverhill in conditions best described as damp. Rich Ford took over at number 8 and was captain on the day; the backline looked strong, marshaled by a returning Chris Lovett.
Lovett kicked off, the ball was claimed by Haverhill and Cantabs eagerness to pressurise the home side led to back to back penalties for offsides. Then a theme for the match was set, the home line out stolen at the front by Ford (this happened at least 10 more times). With ball in hand Cantabs looked dangerous but the conditions were proving difficult and chances were slipping through our fingers. That was until Josh Schmidt, running the show from 9, busted over from short range after a sustained period in their 22. Lovetts conversion attempt from out wide slipped to the left of the posts and the score was 5-0.
The rest of the first half was mostly spent in midfield and was punctuated by a number of handling errors and scrummages. Our experienced front row more than held its own in the scrum and the loose, and all Cantabs players were defending manfully from Haverhills one out runners. Their best moment of the half came from a rare line break by one of their forwards, but he was hauled down by Schmidt, the ball was turned over and the danger cleared.
The second half began with a sustained period of Haverhill pressure. They were inching towards the Cantabs line, one crash at a time, but the tackles were still being made. Then came an important moment; given a penalty in front of the posts, their captain turned down the points hoping for a try but our defense was too good and the danger passed with our line intact. Cantabs then took charge once again and began to play more with the weather, Lovetts intelligent kicking was winning the territory battle and there was strong running from Finlay Lord and Francois Eve amongst others.
Ed Kirkham and Alex BJ joined the fray in the pack, adding muscular yards and hits. Ben Newman and Alex Lord-Swart followed soon after in the backs to give an injection of pace. Finally, Mat Shepherd and Tim Fitzmaurice came on to further bolster the pack and help shut the game down. Some slick drawing and passing from the backs put Harri Beasley in space on the left hand side. He battered through the defender and scored in the corner for 10-0. This time Lovett nailed the conversion and the score was out to 12-0.
There was then time for Alex BJ to be given a yellow card whilst Cantabs were putting pressure on the Haverhill line and for the standout moment of the game. Knowing the clock had run dead, Lovett dropped back into the pocket. Josh arrowed a perfect ball right into his hands and he had time to steady himself before aiming a drop goal at the posts. Time seemed to stand still as he swung his leg towards the ball, the crowd gasped, he made contact and looked up to see the ball dribbling all the way along the floor over the dead ball line.
Game over at 12-0, a hard fought, gritty win for Cantabs, discipline is still an issue but its always a positive to doughnut another team.
Man of the match - Josh Schmidt, a great display from the veteran half-back.
DotD -Chris Lovett, see above.