(By the Report Monkey)
With the league over for the 3s we put the feelers out for a friendly this week to keep us playing (though considering the action in the 6 nations this week it was maybe a weekend for watching rather than playing), and when St Ives lost their opposition we were happy to fill in.
With the England game looming and the weather forgetting it was March it was agreed that we would shorten the game down to 60 minutes.
Cantabs received the kick-off and it was not long before we were on the score board, Craig making one of his darting runs broke one tackle on the half way line, evaded a couple more then sprinted under the posts, Brad adding the extras 0-7.
With the first try seeming to come so easily several players were worried that the battle may be a little too easy this week (winning is fun but only when you feel you worked for it!!), fortunately the score seemed to light a fire in Ives and their game stepped up from here on. Especially in the scrums where their extra weight and experience shone, and fast thinking and hands from Will where put to the test at getting the ball out of our almost always pushed back scrums!
Some good team work by Ives (and perhaps some sloppy tackling by Cantabs) earned them their first converted try (I'm not sure which try the conversion was made on so I'm putting it with the first to get it out of the way!!), 7-7.
The game was on and as each side tried to test for a weakness in the other the tackle rate was already running into big numbers for both sides. Tim's thumb proved not to be quite at full strength so I moved to 2nd row and Matt came on to the wing. For me a close up look at the pressure Ives were putting in at the scrums, was defiantly eye opening (although I am told I would have probably played better with them shut!!). And it was from a scrum on our 5 that they started their 2nd try, unfortunately can not tell you much of how they scored as I was at the bottom of a pile at the time! 12-7.
It was to be a great break by Brad that set up our return to the score board, with the young centre (this week), using his strength and pace well down the left, to break maybe 50 tackles before finally being brought down just outside the 22 (from starting his run on ours), a pop up to Kaz running a great support line who ran the ball in for a deserved try, Brad adding the extras again for a narrow lead, 12-14.
Now I can't really remember how it started but our last try of the half went to Deller with one of his usual displays of farmer power, muscling his way through half their team for his 7th try of the season for the 3s, 12-19. A bit more mid-pitch play and the half was over.
Personally comedy experience of the half has to be when the prop and hooker parted in front of me, for me to find myself in the front row! Having 4 there did seem to stop us going backwards so much though!!
Changes were made to give everyone a half (with the exception of Guns who was feeling a little delicate), Mateus came on at the wing, John and Matt to flanks, Scott moved to 2nd row, and Pedro and myself to the bench.
The second half started as the first had finished with both sides working well with ball in hand, and both sides putting up a wall in defence. It was to be the Cantabs wall that was to crack first,second and third (I think, though we all know I like to dramatize these things), one of which was created by Pedro who had joined the Ives ranks to keep the numbers level following an injury to one of their men, 27-19.
Cantabs next score was started by a great run by Mateus, starting just outside our 22 and needing several Ives men to bring him down just outside their 5m. a few phases later some strong forwards work paid off with a try in the corner through the might of George. 27-24.
It was George scoring again which finally returned us to the narrowest of leads, a end to end sprint, breaking 100 tackles and running circles round their wingers....... Only joking, his second was very similar to his first, great pressure by Mataus on a deep kick over gave Cantabs a pen which we crashed, crashed and spun to the wing where George had positioned himself to charge over for the game winner! 27-29 the final score.
Comedy moment of the second has to be when after their wingers numerous moanings over the ball not being passed left, their 9 broke free and with the winger spare he elected to ignore him and go for the score himself, the wingers angry face was priceless!
MoM, as always numerous contenders for this, Brad, Tozer, Thom and Deller all stood out, but for me for his rescuing of the scrum ball, tackling and all over the pitch play, this week take a bow Will Cox.
DoD, quite a few wayward tackles that could have earned the award this week, but for squandering a 3 on 2 overlap I think Craig can take it for this week.
There were calls for Pedro to take DoD for setting up a try for Ives while representing them, but I think it gets him Sportsman of the week for playing as best he can no matter the jersey.