Cantabs travelled to Ipswich for this fixture against Ipswich YM, which was played under lights. The rain, which had fallen for most of the morning, stopped at lunchtime and although the pitch was wet it was certainly in very good condition. Lots of 1st XV debuts in this game. In 2nd row we had Martin Withers and Adam Tyte, Jake Freeman was promoted from the 2nds and came in at flyhalf, and on the wing was Matt Cole-Wilkin. Two more new guys on the bench: Oliver Sweeney and Iuean Williams. With Tom Bailey and Ollie Townsend back from their travels and William Devane and Like Townsend recovered from their Ely injuries, we were looking forward to getting back on the winning trail.
Cantabs kicked off into the chilly breeze and were soon on the scoreboard. It was the giant Martin Withers that burst through three tacklers on the left passed out wide to a supporting Tom Bailey who dived over into the corner for our first try after just four minutes.
The YM flyhalf had already demonstrated how adept he was at using the stiffening breeze to his advantage, and a huge kick to the left hand corner was helped into touch by one of our backs. From the resulting lineout, their maul did the job; 5 -5 after nine minutes. From the restart it took a try-saving from Luke Townsend to halt their dangerous left winger. But the respite was brief, because from the next lineout, YM brought their left winger back into play and he scored in the corner to make it 10 - 5. It was the long clearance kick that were doing all the damage and sure enough YM went close again from a huge 50:22 kick away to the left and only the referees whistle saved us from going further behind when he pulled up YM for knocking on. In the scrum, Cantabs were very dominant, and confidently cleared their line.
It was the scrum that put us back in the game. YM were pinged at a ruck on the edge of their 22. Tom called for a scrum and with the YM pack in disarray, Ollie set up the next ruck and Tom Bailey was on hand to complete his double, breaking through the first tackler to score close to the posts from ten metres out. This time Finlay made no mistake and we ere back in front at 10 - 12 after 28 minutes
Cantabs were now dictating play a little more and forced their way up to the 22 before knocking on. This time our pack pushed the opposition off the ball to win against the head, YM were penalised, and this time Ollie opted for a tap penalty. quick hands from Hayward and William Devane ghosted his way in to dot down next to the posts; and we went further ahead at 10 - 19. This partnership at centre between James Hayward and Devane is already showing big dividends this season.
Still YM were using the wind to their advantage, but Finlay and his wingers were staying deeper, and were generally coping better. No further score before half time and a blast from the past as both teams enjoyed their half-time oranges.
YM started the scoring with a penalty to make it 13 - 19, but Cantabs with the wind at their backs allowed Finlay to keep play in the opposition half with his kicking. The next try went to Cantabs, Hayward made the break on the left seemed to be going for the corner, but switched play back inside with a neat pass behind his back to Matt Cole-Wilkin who scored unopposed under the posts; 13 - 26 with the easy conversion from Finlay.
Cantabs backs were now calling the tune, and Perksy took a break to give Kiran a go in the front row. William Devane showed his class once again to score under the posts, cutting back inside to score at ease; 13 - 33 with the conversion. James Hayward got a try for himself and we were at 13 - 40.
Then disaster, Tom Bailey was making one of his surging runs through the middle dragging a tackler in his wake. He was finally tackled, and didn't get up. Immediately Will was at his side and Glen called for a stretcher. We were told it was a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula, and the game was moved onto the 2nd team pitch which was adjacent.
We lost a certain amount of interest in proceedings after that, Glen used his subs and brought Perksy back on. Finn Morrison attempted to take lineouts in Tom's absence. Both sides scored a further try, with YM's going unconverted. But with darkness falling and the score at 18 - 47 Sir called it a day, probably a minute or two early.
We supporters made Tom Bailey man of the match, for his brave charges and his two tries. Not sure we will see Tom back captaining the side this season, but we all wish him a speedy recovery. He will be sorely missed. If you are reading this Tom, the lads enjoyed the silent Disco that you organised for them. There is a pint or two waiting for you in the Clubhouse.
Next game is against Southwold on the 11th. If you have not booked for the pre-match lunch, you could be disappointed as Elliot tells me it is a full house.
1 Ryan Moclair, 2 Tom Bailey (capt), 3 Jon Perks, 4 Martin Withers, 5 Adam Tyte, 6 Luke Townsend,
7 Finn Morrison, 8 Tom Stace, 9 Ollie Townsend,10 Jake Freeman,11 Andrew Tilley,12 James Hayward,
13 William Devane,14 Matt Cole-Wilkin,15 Finlay Laing,16 Kiran Suman-Chauhan,17 Oliver Sweeney,
18 Iuean Williams.