Because of the problems with the pitch pre-season, Cantabs had to wait for a little longer to entertain the Sedley Taylor faithful. Diss were the visitors, just one point ahead of Cantabs in the embryo league table ; both teams having won one match and lost one. It was the first chance for the home supporters to see our new Irish outside centre William Devane, who had scored a hat trick in the game against Bury St Edmunds and for the first time this season he was alongside James Hayward. With Jos Crush at flyhalf, Ollie Townsend back at number nine and the wingers Alan Barker and Elliot Baines, our back line was potentially very strong. There were also first team debuts for Kiran Suman-Chauhan at prop and Oliver Sweeney and Matt Cole-Wilkin who were on the bench with the ageless Nat Higginbotham.
Cantabs kicked off on a the newly seeded pitch towards the railway end, on a a very pleasant September afternoon. However, when Diss fielded the kick, it was all one way traffic towards the Cantabs end. Diss went very close, and would have gone ahead in the first attack but the final pass was adjudged forward. Diss were taken back to the halfway line and awarded a penalty for offside. For the first ten minutes it was all Diss and they were duly awarded for the constant pressure with a try in the right hand corner which was converted. 0 - 7 and Cantabs had hardly touched the ball.
Then after nine minutes in Cantabs first attack James Hayward broke clear on the left , passed outside to Elliot Baines, who made further progress, drew his man and timed the return pass back inside to James to perfection. James round round under the posts and Finlay converted; 7 - 7. At that point my recording device seems to have totally ignored me, so the rest of this report is disappointingly (for me at any rate) somewhat sketchy.
However, with our pack holding their own in the scrum, and despite some early rusty lineouts, our backs were now looking more threatening. Finlay Laing hit a 50/22 kick to the right hand corner, the throw was secured and William Devane opened his account following a tap penalty close in, which eventually was swung out to the left, William scoring at the post. Then captain Tom Bailey bulldozed his way over in the left hand corner having been thwarted at his first drive for the line. Finlay converted both tries and added a penalty so at half time we turned round 24 - 7 to the good. To a man everyone on the touchline was delighted with our backs play. James Hayward was making breaks every time he got the ball and with Devane's link play the whole of our back line had started to really hum.
Cantabs started the second half on the attack and but for a missed pass under the posts would have gone further ahead. Diss had their moments in the second half, but invariably our tackling was up to the mark when they did threaten, with Finn Morrison performing his usual heroics. The tries came regularly, and from memory, Devane scored a second, as did Hayward. Then there were Tries from Morrison and Jos Crush. The outstanding score of the half came from Alan Barker who shot down the left wing and outpaced three tacklers to score in the corner. Finn Laing had a great day and only missed one conversion. Final score was 57 - 7.
My apologies for the brevity of this report on such a good day for Cantabs. From a team which over the last countless seasons has relied on the strength of our pack and in particular our scrummaging, it is clear that the addition of Devane at outside centre, who has brought in a wealth of experience to the back line, has made a tremendous difference. William was named man of the match, but James Hayward was equally as deadly and could easily have taken that honour as well. As a centre pairing methinks they are going to have a good season, and as several of our forwards mentioned after the game their job is now to get the ball to our half backs and set up the next attack. Already we are averaging over forty points a game.
In summary, I am truly looking forward to the next match. We are back at Sedley Taylor Road next week against bottom of the table Wisbech.
1 Ryan Moclair, 2 Tom Bailey (capt), 3 Kiran Suman-Chauhan, 4 Ben Tozer, 5 Simon New, 6 Adam Hardy,
7 Finn Morrison, 8 Tom Stace, 9 Ollie Townsend,10 Jos Crush,11 Elliot Baines,12 James Hayward,
13 William Devane,14 Alan Barker,15 Finlay Laing,16 Nat Higginbotham,17 Oliver Sweeney,18 Matt Cole-Wilkin.