Wisbech were the opponents, and as they had conceded 7o points against Shelford 2nds at home last week, a straight-forward win was anticipated. So much for that theory!
Jos Crush and William Devane were missing from the starting lineout. In came the evergreen Jon Perks, Luke Townsend and James McCaskie. James Hayward was back at fly-half. Cantabs kicked off towards the railway, and an early penalty kick from Finlay Laing to the right hand corner was wasted with a poor lineout throw. However, with Cantabs winning a succession of penalties, Finlay was soon kicking to the other corner. This time Tom threw to the front, collected the return and waltzed over in the corner, with just six minutes gone. Finlay hit a lovely conversion from the left hand touchline; 7 - 0.
Cantabs soon lost the restart kick and after just four phases, one of what seemed to be five Wisbech props dived over at the posts; 7 - 7. Wisbech continued to press, geed on by their success. But the next score went to the home side. Following a scrum in the 22, Cantabs moved the ball to the backs and James hayward had enough speed to run round their defence to score in the right hand corner. Again Finlay continued his fine kicking form making the conversion to bring the score to 14 - 7.
Cantabs managed to stay ahead when Wisbech were continually breaking through our tackles to camp deep inside our 22. Finally we won a penalty right on our try line and kicked our way out of danger. Cantabs continued to make progress with a sweeping move to the right and then back to the left, with the move finished off by Finn Morrison who had come into the line to dart through the defence and score in the left hand
corner. This time the try went unconverted, but we had some breathing space at 19 - 7. Cantabs also made the next score, McCaskie made the break on the left and when the ball was recycled, Tom Bailey took the ball at pace to break through the defensive line and scored at the posts; 26 - 7 with the simple conversion.
Then Wisbech fly-half showed his class breaking through or round three tacklers to score out wide on the right. The conversion failed but that second Wisbech try got them close at 26 - 12 to finish the scoring in the first half.
Cantabs started the brighter and McCaskie's left foot touched the whitewash, otherwise he was claera and away for a certain try. Wisbech were next to score however, and again it was their flyhalf evading some despairing tackled to dot down under the posts. Their kicker blasted the ball high between our posts onto the railway, wasting £40 in the process, but all he cared was that they were back in the game at 26 - 19. Wisbech were now getting on top and from a scrum to the left of our posts they span the ball out to the right and scored in the corner; 26 - 24.
Wisbech then scored again following a succession of missed tackles and this time there was no mistake with the conversion; Wisbech were ahead for the first time at 26 - 31. Then Glen made the first change, Ben Tozer into second row, replacing Adam Hardy. Cantabs gained a scrum on five metres, Perksy went close with a drive, we recycled and knocked on the next attempt. Wisbech kicked clear after their scrum, but Cantabs were awarded a penalty, Finlay kicked to the right hand corner and we managed to secure the ball, move it wide to James Hayward who cut back inside to score at the posts; 33 - 31 with Finlay's conversion.
Then, our best try. Hayward threw out a missed pass to James McCaskie on the left on his own ten metre line. James went outside the first tackler and the second, then cut back inside to beat the third before moving out around their last defender and scored under the posts; 40 - 31.
Then Cantabs contrived to hand the game back to Wisbech with eight minutes left on the clock. First Finlay Laing was yellow-carded for not retreating for a Wisbech penalty deep in our 22, he was rapidly followed to the bin by Simon New with Wisbech again going close with their No 10, who was tackled close to the line. Luke Townsend was yellow carded as well with Cantabs desperately tried to keep Wisbech from our try line. Somehow Cantabs moved into the Wisbech half but spilled the ball. The next scrum was contested with just five Cantabs forwards. Wisbech duly won it, and broke clear to score at the posts; 40 - 38. Then Finn Morrison joined them in the bin, so it was 11 against 15, and we were fast running out of orange vests on the touch line. Somehow Cantabs weathered the last two or three minutes.
Final score 40 - 38. Bonus point win to Cantabs and two bonus points to Wisbech, who moved off the bottom of the table. Cantabs are up to third.
Our next opponents, at their place, are North Walsham 2nds, who are now rooted to the foot of the league table, as are North Walsham 1sts in National 1. So another easy game?
I am also pleased to report that Cantabs 2nds continued their good run of form with a 41 -10 away victory at
St Neots, and are now second in their league.
1 Ryan Moclair, 2 Tom Bailey (capt), 3 Jon Perks, 4 Adam Hardy, 5 Simon New, 6 Luke Townsend,
7 Finn Morrison, 8 David Masters, 9 Ollie Townsend, 10 James Hayward,11 James McCaskie, 12 Alan Barker,
13 Finlay Laing,14 Ben Newman,15 Elliott Baines,16 Kiran Suman-Chauhan,17 Ben Tozer,18 Matt Cole-Wilkin.