Cantabs were at league leaders Woodford for this London 2 encounter. We had run them close at Sedley Taylor Road, but with a much changed side this one was never going to be easy. Jon Perks fell out ill on the morning of the match and Ben Tozer was promoted to start up front, with Nuggett Moclair pinched from the 2nds to make the front row replacement.
In perfect rugby conditions, Cantabs kicked off against the wind and for five minutes had the territorial and possession bragging rights. Keiran slotted home one of two penalties and we were away at 0 -3.
Then the home side got into gear, Kieran lost his kicking boots and suddenly the Woodford runners were on full song. By half time with four converted tries the score had moved to 28 - 3 and the game was effectively over. In the same period, Cantabs had lost their blindside, Will Knights for ten minutes and then lost the services of our hooker Ollie Dakin to injury. Finn Morrison also took a knock that required extended treatment, before rejoining the scrum to witness a penalty try under his own posts.
Harry Wilson had come on at blindside and Will Knights moved to his more accustomed hooker position. As the second half started again Cantabs looked good with the ball in hand, but when the errors came, Woodford were quick to punish us; their left winger proving a particularly difficult man to tackle once he was in full flow. A bloodied Finn Morrison was taken out of the game allowing Nuggett a run out; Rowan also took over on the wing from Ben. The score moved to 59 - 3 with a quarter of the game still to go.
Perhaps Woodford relaxed too much, but for the last quarter Cantabs gave as good as they got. The final score went to Cantabs and was set up by a 50 metre run from Kieran who weaved and jinked his way down the left, got his pass away to Will Knights, who got within ten metres before he was tackled illegally. From the penalty, Cantabs switched the ball to the right and Dean's long pass outside was met by a speeding Francois Eve. Our right winger cut inside and scored close to the posts. Final score: 59 - 10 with Kieran's conversion.
After ten minutes, Woodford were far the better team with their young speedsters giving Cantabs defence a torrid time. We were also out-gunned in set plays and maul; a true indication of a team in top form and deservedly now well clear at the top of the division. Cantabs cling on to 8th place with a vital game coming up at home against Harlow in two weeks time, where we desperately need everyone fit and available if we are to avoid dropping back into the relegation places.
There was a special presentation after the game to mark Drew Tilley's 50th 1st XV appearance - well done Drew!