Cantabs made the trip to the North of the Fens for the first encounter with Wisbech in five years. Richard Knight had not recovered from last week's knock, so Ollie Townsend was at scrum half and he was partnered by Finlay Laing. The front row was strengthened by Tom Bailey at hooker and on the wings we had Ben Newman and the evergreen Francois Eve. Rich Ford had moved to the bench as he was going to be late in arriving.
It was a glorious short-sleeve Autumn day, the grass was a little uneven, but long and lush to cushion tackles as Cantabs kicked off against the wind and towards the noisy Fair that had taken over the car park. Cantabs were soon camped on the edge of the Wisbech 22. Finlay made the first break and the Cantabs scrum appeared to have the upper hand at the first breakdown. Wisbech did break out briefly, but Cantabs were soon back in their right hand corner and the early finally pressure told with captain Danny Richards ending a powerful drive with a try. Finlay's conversion attempt, from close to the touchline, rapped the far post and bounced out; 0 - 5 after eight minutes play.
Wisbech entered the Cantabs half for the first time with the restart kick, but a typical thrusting run from Finn Morrison got us back up to half way. From a scrum on halfway the ball was shifted right where a speeding Francois Eve miraculously caught his pass behind his left shoulder, made good ground, found Dean James in support inside and he timed his pass to perfection for Danny inside to run in under the posts. Finlay made no mistake and the score had moved to 0 - 12 after twelve minutes.
Wisbech came back at us; Cantabs did not secure a lineout on halfway, and the ball was shifted to their flyhalf who darted through a couple of despairing tackles and jinked round the last two tacklers to round off a great individual try under the posts; 7 - 12. Wisbech were now dominant for the first time in the match, encouraged by their initial score, Wisbech ran back the ball from the restart and with Cantabs perhaps thinking this was going to be straightforward, the Wisbech 2nd row charged off down the right and broke three tackles before scoring out wide; 12 - 12.
Cantabs were soon back ahead, however, Wisbech collected the restart but their man didn't release the ball when tackled and from 35 metres, Finlay made no mistake to put Cantabs ahead again at 12 - 15 and 25 minutes on the clock. Cantabs soon made in-roads again down the left with Ben Newman, and drew the penalty at the breakdown. Ollie was illegally denied the chance to spin the ball wide, with the Wisbech defender not retreating ten metres. Danny opted for the scrum, now deep inside the opposition 22. The ball was spun out to Francois, who got within 5 metres, Perksy took up the challenge but his foot crossed the touchline. That was the opportunity gone, but as the game reached the end of the first half, Cantabs had worked their way down the left yet again, and following a good lineout, Ollie dummied to move the ball wide to the right and suddenly switched play to the short side, catching the defence out. Danny, gratefully took the pass, and completed his hat trick of tries in the corner. Finlay made a superb conversion from the touchline, and the score moved to 12 - 22.
There was still time for Wisbech to mount another attack, and some very risky passing in our own 22 somehow got Cantabs out of trouble. Half time with Cantabs defending desperately. At the break Glen brought on Tim Kirkconnel at loose head for Ben Tozer, and Rich Ford replaced Deano. Wisbech were given the first chance to alter the score with a penalty 30 metres out, but the kick was wide of the mark. Then Rich Ford took the ball perfectly in the next lineout, Finn Morrison made the break, slicing through the Wisbech defence with a diagonal run deep into the opposition half, found Adam Fastnedge outside him with a perfectly judged pass, and Adam scored in the left hand corner. Finlay completely miskicked the conversion, but Cantabs had their bonus point at 12 - 27. Wisbech hit the restart kick straight out, giving the Cantabs pack a chance to dominate another scrum and a badly timed tackle gave away a penalty. Back-chat from the home side conceded a further 10m and Finlay struck the penalty perfectly into the left hand corner. Danny caught the lineout, but we spilled the ball in the drive for the line. Wisbech lost the scrum against the head, Ford, Perks and Bailey drives got us to within a metre. Then Wisbech touched down in goal and from the resultant scrum Danny had an easy task to make his fourth try as he beat Ollie to the touchdown at the base of the scrum. Finlay hit the conversion perfectly from out wide this time; 12 - 34.
Another sweeping move from Cantabs saw Ben Newman go close, in the same corner, but he was adjudged to have knocked on in touching down. The 5m scrum was somehow cleared by Wisbech with their pack under enormous pressure, and for the first time they ventured into the Cantabs half briefly. Wisbech were now conceding penalty after penalty and Finlay had chance after chance to demonstrate his accurate kicking out of hand with the breeze assisting. Another good scrum allowed Rich Ford to break away on the right, he crossed the line, but then contrived to drop the ball, in goal, when it would have been easier to score. Alas for Wisbech it just meant another scrum, another penalty and yet another scrum to follow. This pattern continued, and eventually Sir issued a yellow card against Wisbech. Jonny Heaver, still hobbling from last week's blisters took a break, Fergus Wilson and Ben Tozer on with Tim Kirkconel shifting to 2nd row. Eventually, Danny, fed up with scrummaging it seemed opted to take the points and Finlay obliged from the 22 to make it 12 - 37. Francois showed his pace again down the wing, Finlay again pushed Wisbech back into the corner. However, despite continued pressure from Cantabs the game saw no further scoring and concluded with a very satisfactory bonus point win to Cantabs, leaving them in fourth place in the division after two away games; not a bad start to the season.
Star man had to be Danny for his four tries, Finlay came up with a near perfect kicking performance from hand and from the tee and with our front row dominating throughout, our half-back pair gave the backs some great opportunities to demonstrate good hands on many occasions. Next week we have our first home fixture against Beccles.
1 Ben Tozer, 2 Tom Bailey, 3 Jon Perks, 4 Jonny Heaver, 5 Ed Foster,
6 Dean James, 7 Finn Morrison, 8 Danny Richards (capt), 9 Ollie Townsend, 10 Finlay Laing,
11 Ben Newman, 12 Adam Fastnedge, 13 Kieran Dolaghan, 14 Francois Eve, 15 Luke Farrow,
16 Tim Kirkconel, 17 Richard Ford, 18 Fergus Wilson.
Coaches: Glen Remnant and Will Riggs