There were wholesale changes to the team for this last home league fixture of the season. The starting pack only had Jon Perks, Tom Stace and Jonny Heaver who had played against West Norfolk. For the backs Jos Crush was in at flyhalf and James Hayward moved to inside centre. James McCaskie, Drew Tilley, Alex Myers were all back in the starting fifteen.
Cantabs kicked off towards the clubhouse in lovely shirt-sleeve weather. Dean James was the first to make an impact when he burst through the line to make fifteen metres into the opposition 22 and gained a penalty; 3 - 0 courtesy of Jos Crush after just two minutes. Southwold had us scrambling in defence to prevent a score from their first meaningful attack, but Cantabs defence did the job and forced the error. Jos eventually kicked to relieve the pressure., finding touch close to the opposition 22. Southwold's lineout was crooked and when our man was pulled down in the next lineout, Jos got us into the left hand corner. The lineout brought our maul into play, and when Ollie Townsend finally spun the ball out it was Deano again who crashed through the defence to score close to the posts. Jos converted and with eleven minutes gone we were up to 10 - 0.
Southwold then got back into the game. Cantabs were not up to support at the ruck and Southwold kicked a penalty from 25 metres out to get onto the board at 10 - 3. Then their full back used what wind there was to hit a 50/22 into our left hand corner. The Southwold lineout and rolling maul were too good for Cantabs and Southwold were back in the game at 10 - 8. Cantabs replied immediately from the restart, Southwold were caught offside and Jos added three point from the edge of the 22 to bring the score to 13 - 8 after 20 minutes.
James Hayward kicked long, down the left hand touch line and James McCaskie showed his speed as he reached the ball close to the Southwold lineout at the same time as their right winger. The Southwold man just got to the ball first but knocked on in his attempt to secure it and that brought our scrum into play. Tom Stace secured the ball, popped it to ollie Townsend and his pass to the right met a darting James Hayward who sliced through the Southwold defence and ran round to score close to the posts. Great try, and we were back in control at 20 - 8.
The Southwold full-back again made a 50/22 kick; this time to the right wing. Same result, the lineout secured possession for Southwold, their maul did the damage again, and Cantabs had no answer to the crash ball with Southwold scoring under the posts. The straightforward conversion brought the score back up to 20 - 15. But Cantabs again immediately replied. We secured the restart kick and Ollie swung the play first to the right and then back to the left. We recycled at the ruck and Tom Bailey burst through the tackle to score out wide to make it 25 - 15. after half an hour. There was just one more score before the break and at it came from a penalty to Southwold on the stroke of half time, after two earlier penalty misses. We turned round at 25 - 18.
Cantabs now had what breeze there was at their backs. Jon Perks was penalised for a "no arms" tackle and sin-binned, so for ten minutes we were holding on somewhat. A kick from them back into the corner was dealt with much better. That turned out to be one of the rare chances that Southwold had to add to their tally. The very next attack from Cantabs saw Jos Crush loft a kick out to the right wing, where Drew Tilley gathered the ball and virtually walked over the line to score in the corner; 30 - 18 ten minutes into the half.
With perfect timing, Perksy was back on for the first scrum of the second half and from that moment we hardly looked back. Southwold defended well but the final outcome was now beyond doubt. Ollie Townsend then took a bad knock to the head, and took no further part in the game; Deano taking over at scrum half. Simon New also suffered a head injury and suddenly we had used all of our replacements. The changes did not seem to upset the balance of play however, and when Jos Crush hit the corner from a penalty, Tom Stace caught the lineout ball, the maul formed and at the second shove, Chairman Laurence Jones took the honours as the pack powered him over the line. James Hayward converted to make the score 37- 18.
James Hayward then took over, he gathered the ball just outside his own 22, made ground, dinked the ball over the defence and gathered it as it bounced awkwardly for their back, rounded him, and slipped the ball out to his left to a supporting Laurence, and he returned the favour to put James in under the posts. Mr Hayward converted his own try and we were up to 44 - 18. A great run down the left from Lew Jones came to nothing as our support couldn't keep up with him when the tackle brought him to the floor. But the set-back was only temporary. The final score soon followed and again it was Hayward, this time on the crash ball, to give him his hat-trick of tries under the posts. James converted and we were home and dry at 51 - 18. Cantabs saw out the last eight minutes successfully and with this win secured fifth place in the League. Just one game to go, against Stowmarket next week, before we face Cambridge Development in the Cambs Cup at Sedley Taylor Road on 9th April.
Man of the match was James Hayward. The latest on Ollie Townsend is that his CT scan did find a brain, but thankfully no serious problems, but he will obviously miss the next match and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
Tries: Hayward 3, Dean James, Tom Bailey, Drew Tilley, Laurence Jones
Penalties: Jos Crush 2
Conversions: Jos Crush 2, James Hayward 3
1 Isaia Barbieri, 2 Tom Bailey (capt), 3 Jon Perks, 4 Jonny Heaver, 5 Simon New, 6 Dean James,
7 Luke Townsend, 8 Tom Stace, 9 Ollie Townsend, 10 Jos Crush,11 James McCaskie,12 James Hayward,
13 Francois Eve, 14 Andrew Tilley, 15 Alex Myers,16 Ed Foster,17 Laurence Jones,18 Lew Jones.