It was a funny old day at Sedley Taylor Road. Torrential rain over the previous 24 hours had left standing water on the pitch. The visitors were Ely Tigers, and neither they nor the referee were keen on playing - I guess they had forgotten their costumes. Just quarter of an hour before the planned 15.00 kick-off the game was called off, despite the valiant efforts of Al Sadler and a large contingent of Cantabs supporters with buckets and brooms. Their efforts were in vain. Warm-ups were completed and Glen to his credit was trying every contact he had to get the game on. Cantabs were going into this game having scored over 90 points the previous week and on the back of four straight wins. We all wanted a game. The Hills Road Sixth Form College pitch was fine, but we were forbidden to use it.
Eventually permission was gained to use the Long Road Sixth Form College pitch and we all trooped over to there for a 15.30 kick-off.
Jon Perks was captain for the day, with Tom Bailey having a day off. Ollie Townsend was also missing, so JP started at hooker and Dean James was in at scrum half. Ely opened the scoring with an unconverted try, Finlay Laing scored a penalty from the edge of the 22, then Finn Morrison finished off a great move to get his customary try. So we were ahead at 8 - 5 after quarter of an hour. Then the wheels started to come off. Luke Townsend had already retired with a muscle pull, then the influential William Devane pulled a hamstring and he was followed by JP with yet another muscular strain. All three subs were in the game by halfway through the first half.
By now, Ely were finding touch well with their penalties and easily winning their own ball at the lineout. We tried both Dean and Finn as lineout throwers but Ely were often taking our throws as well. We were holding our own in the scrums and in the first half should probably have scored a couple of tries, but Ely held out and scored a try late on to go in front before the break.
Apart from a great run down the left by James Hayward to score in the corner, I am afraid it was Ely that did all the rest of the scoring. Final score 13 - 43.
Initially my reaction was to say that we should have allowed the postponement. Ely didn't want to play, Cantabs did. However after more rational thinking, I believe that the winners were not just Ely Tigers. Cantabrigian Rugby as a whole showed everyone who was the bigger club on the day. We exist to play amateur rugby and this club is getting three sides out on Saturdays and has a clubhouse which is buzzing every match day.
Rudyard Kipling got it right: "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat both those imposters just the same.... Yours is the earth, and everything that's in it, and -which is more- you'll be a Man, my Son". We move onto the next game a better Club for the experience.
It was also great to see two old boys back at the Club, Mike Aubrey, open-side flanker from the 90s and another backrow player from more recent times, ex captain Danny Richards paying a visit from down under.
Our 2nd XV travelled to play Peterborough 2nds and won by 66 points to 7, and now head their league by nine points. Need I say more.
1 Ryan Moclair, 2 J-P Middleton, 3 Jon Perks (capt), 4 Simon New, 6 Luke Townsend, 7 Finn Morrison,
8 Tom Stace, 9 Dean James, 1 James McCaskie,12 James Hayward,13 William Devane,14 Alan Barker,
16 Ben Tozer,17 Adam Hardy,18 Ben Newman.
1 Chris Locke,2 Jack Lee,3 Kiran Suman-Chauhan, 4 Adam Tyte, 5 Oliver Sweeney, 6 Ben Campbell,
7 Jack Hopkins, 8 William Mason (capt), 9 Patrick James,10 Jake Freeman,11 Callum Lambourn,
12 Ted Peachey,13 Drew Tilley,14 Matt Burson,15 Finlay Wilson,16 JT Davie,17 Gus Harvey,18 Scott Jackson.