Disclaimer, this report has a number of gaps as I either wasnt paying attention or had my head stuck at the bottom of a ruck at the time, so apologies!
With the weather significantly warmer than last weekend Cantabs 1XV welcomed Wanstead to Sedley Taylor Road. For Cantabs the versatile Charlie Searle was in at loosehead, accompanying Tom and Perksy with big hitters Danny Richards and Dean James keeping guard on the flanks.
Adam Fastnedge was in at Flyhalf with Henri Cherrington and Drew Tilley paired up in the centres.
The away fixture had not been a pleasant one for Cantabs as the hosts had run in a number of points in the final quarter and Cantabs were determined not to experience a repeat and to take the game to Wanstead.
Adam kicked off with Cantabs defending the clubhouse but it was the visitors who had the best of the opening territory, with a couple of penalties for holding on allowing the visitors purchase on the Cantabs 22. Cantabs looked to be tackling and marking up well but a miss communication in midfield saw there centre slice through and score under the posts which was duly converted for 0-7.
Cantabs restart was almost regathered by a flying Matthew Houlden but the ball evaded him for the first scrum of the game. This was a relief for the home side as the Cantabs tight five surged forwards and claimed a penalty against the head. Nick Denhams shot at goal was on target and Cantabs had the first points on the board.
Wanstead managed to get themselves back into the Cantabs half and this time it was there fly halfs turn to slice through a hole in the Cantabs defence to double their points tally, 0-14.
After their slow start Cantabs now seemed to spark into life, with a number of barrelling runs from Perksy, Tom, Danny and Shed making real inroads into the Wanstead half. A spilt ball was desperately hacked clear by Wanstead to be gathered by Danny Richards who stuck it on his boot for a kick that dribbled into the in goal area. Matt Houlden came from nowhere and was almost on the end of the ball for an unlikely score, only just denied for a 22m drop out.
Finally Cantabs were rewarded when Matthew Houlden went over in the far corner, with Nick Denham just shading the conversion 5-14. A yellow card for Wansteads flanker for a high tackle was accompanied by one for Nick Denham for retaliation with both teams reduced to 14 for the rest of the half.
At half time it was clear that Cantabs needed to maintain the intensity they had carried in the second quarter. Shed, who was struggling with a dead leg, gave way for Laurence Jones in the Second Row.
Cantabs continued to play well as the second half begun but could not quite regather the precision and accuracy they had had earlier with mistakes at critical moments just allowing Wanstead to clear.
The Cantabs scrum continued to dominate but the peculiar set up that Wanstead where deploying seemed to be spinning their side of the scrum and mitigating Cantabs advantage as the back row where up on Rich Ford as soon as he went to claim the ball.
As the game moved into its final quarter Cantabs found themselves hammering away at the Wanstead line battering away looking for a hole. Despite repeated warnings Wanstead continued to concede penalties in the red zone until eventually the Wanstead Flanker was given his marching orders with Tom Bailey being bundled over shortly afterwards.
Cantabs were desperately looking for another score but it was Wanstead that were able to get into the right area of the pitch with Cantabs perhaps guilty of trying to overplay with risky offloads. Despite some brave scatter defence eventually the ball was considered grounded by the referee despite a great trysaving effort from Adam Fastnedge.
That final score took the game from Cantabs and despite a sterling effort to salvage a bonus point Cantabs were denied as Wanstead cleared the ball from a lineout into touch.
A tough day for Cantabs who slipped down the league but with 2 games left the final outcome is far from decided. Cantabs will need all the support they can get over the next couple of weeks.