CANTERBURY 7 CAMBRIDGE 34
After this sixth straight defeat Canterbury will need to take on board the words of Winston Churchill. “Success” he said “ is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” Enthusiasm, however, can only take you so far in rugby and the city side need to rediscover their skills if they are to survive in National Division One. In a display as leaden as the skies over the Marine Travel Ground they conceded five tries and just saved themselves from an embarrassing whitewash with the last play of the game.
Cambridge Head Coach Richie Williams said it was his team’s best display of the season but Canterbury’s technical failures and blunt attack made life all too easy for the visitors. Persistent rain that plagued this 90th anniversary match played a part but a city side that lost the ball in contact far too often and indulged in unwise off loads did not help themselves. There were also big problems at the lineouts, an area where they are traditionally strong, and it stifled momentum’
Cambridge built a seventeen point lead by half time with tries from Matt Hema and James Martin and a penalty goal and two conversions by Ben Penfold. Canterbury had been almost invisible as an attacking force but in the early minutes of the second half had a real chance to win a foothold in the game. Twice they arrived in try scoring areas and twice the line out work let them down. With those opportunities missed Cambridge dominated the rest of the match. Their reward was three good quality tries from Joe Green, a second for Martin after a gorgeous chip kick by Penfold and the best of all scored by Alex Rayment. There was great support work and fluidity as the ball passed through six pairs of hands to leave Penfold a simple conversion.
Canterbury’s last desperate fling involved close quarter driving from the pack before either Dwayne Corcoran or Dan Smart touched down under a pile of bodies and Tom Best converted. The confusion over who scored rather summed up the city side’s disappointing day. Perhaps another Churchill saying will be their watchword now: ‘Never give in, never give in, never give in”
Canterbury: C.Grimes, R.Mackintosh, S.Sterling, H.Young (repl A.Meads), D.Corcoran, M.Craven (repl T.Best), D.Smart, J.Dever (repl A.Cooper), J.Otto (repl T.King), S.Kenny, R.Cadman, M.Corker, S.Rogers, S.Stapleton, S.Roche, (repl J.Stephens)