Jon Perks was in for only his third start of the season, but captain Tom Bailey had succumbed to Covid for this visit of Holt. If Cantabs had any thoughts of avenging the heavy defeat at Holt, within two minutes those aspirations had already started to disappear. Cantabs were attacking on the right, and the pass out to the wing was adjudged forward. Later on film this was palpably wrong, but the decision had been made, and from the resultant scrum and two phases later the Holt outside centre skipped through and round our defence to score under the posts; 0 - 7.
Holt were looking to spin the ball wide at every opportunity, and their fly-half had a very long fast pass which continually stretched our lads. Cantabs had five minutes camped on the Holt try-line, but lacked the killer punch to come away with a try. Holt eventually worked the ball clear, attacked at speed and scored another try close to the posts; this time the move was finished off with their forwards; 0 - 14.
Then some poor tackling from Cantabs allowed Holt to make serious in roads down the left. Their half backs switched play rapidly to the right where Holt had a three man overlap; a well struck conversion made it 0 - 21 with just 20 minutes gone.
Cantabs then woke up and following a poor clearance from the Holt full-back which just about reached the 22, Cantabs won the lineout, Finn Morrison took the crash ball and got to within 5 metres, laid the ball back well, and some slick handling gave Alan Barker the try fifteen metres to the right of the posts; 7 - 21. Holt then took advantage of an offside to add a further three points.
Cantabs continued to look the more likely to score now, and the forwards were certainly on top, but a loose pass out to the left wing was easily intercepted by the Holt outside centre who ran two thirds of the length of the pitch to score un-hindered at the posts; 7 - 31 as we reached half-time.
Glen took our side back into the changing rooms for some wise words, and as we attacked the railway end initially we were on top, but again a breakaway from yet more loose play enabled their right winger to show a clean pair of heels to our defence, and the conversion was added even though the try was out wide; 7 - 38. Jonnie Heaver forced himself over for our second try, but Cantabs were facing an uphill task at 12 - 38.
Cantabs to their credit continued to press, and Alan Barker made a great break to within metres of the line, the ball was recycled quickly and James McCaskie finished off the move to the right of the posts: 19 - 38 with the conversion added by Finlay Laing.
Holt then fly kicked down the left wing and agonisingly for them the ball just went dead before their left winger dived on the ball, with our defence completely beaten. Cantabs were now on top and only the Holt defence or the referee stood in the way of further tries, with Cantabs unable to capitalise on long periods of pressure. Finally, our forwards managed to score from yet another incursion into the Holt 22, with Ed Foster diving in amongst the boots and bodies to ground on the line; 24 - 38.
Holt unfortunately had the last score, through their big second row, who ran through three tacklers to score to the right of the posts, when our supporters were starting to think of a second bonus point. Final score 24 - 45.
Holt gave us a lesson in speedy backs play, but our forwards held their own throughout, and our man of the match picked by the Holt travelling supporters was Finn Morrison for his incessant tackling and running. So in the last home league match of the season we we doubled by second in the table and next week we face top of the table and unbeaten Saffron Walden at Henham. We need our best team and probably a good deal of luck - but we can dream!
To be continued......