Cam Overwhelm Millbrook and win Promotion
By Roger Berry
Cam Overwhelm Millbrook in Hants v Surrey Playoff and win Promotion back to LSW3
The first ever visit of Millbrook to Camberley was, without doubt, the biggest game of the season for Risey's young black and ambers as the winners would gain promotion to London SW3.
As it turned out the contest was all but over after the first quarter following an exhilarating display of attacking rugby, probably the best we have seen at Watchetts for many years, when Cam scored 22 unanswered points leaving the visitors totally shell shocked.
The visitors, who had enjoyed an extremely successful season in Hampshire 1 clearly had no answer to the fast, open and skilful rugby which we have enjoyed this season.
The visitors game plan seemed to rely heavily on their solid pack and when they lost their first put in on their 22 and Tommy Dunn threw a perfect cut out pass to Oddjob who forced his way over in the corner after only 4 mins it was clear that this was not in their game plan and with Dunny then converting from the touchline into a stiff breeze I guess they suspected that they could be in for a tough afternoon.
Things got even worse for the visitors when, from the restart, Cam through Phil Cresswell and Dylan soon forced their way back into the visitors 22 and from the scrum, and playing a penalty advantage, the ball moved down the line to Oddjob who showed his pace and strength to run in under the posts for another converted try with only 9 mins played.
Again Cam dealt well with the restart and good play by Dylan saw Tommy D put in a great kick which took play deep into the visitors half again and when Sam out jumped them to steal the ball Millbrook were only ably to stem the black and amber attack by conceding a penalty which was slotted by the Cam #10 making the score 17-0 after only 13 mins.
The restart brought a bit of territory momentarily for the visitors but a great nudge by Tommy D saw play soon move back into Millbrooks half and Cam were on the attack again. When hooker Dylan was tap tackled when he was clean through Cam were awarded a penalty and opted for the kick to touch.
Hoff secured the throw and a great drive was adjudged to have been held but when the 2nd attempt was also secured by Hoff it was initially played to the openside but tremendous vision by #10 Dunny saw a switch to Dylan on the blind who crossed for a well worked try on 20 mins.
The next 15 mins saw Cam still trying to run almost everything but they were unable to add to their score through some poor finishing however on 35 mins another great lineout take by Hoff saw the ball move quickly along the line with Alex Hughes running a brilliant line from fullback to cross for another unconverted try which remained the score at half time.
Cam, now playing with the benefit of the breeze, added to their score within a minute of the restart when Tom D converted a penalty conceded from the restart kick and it all became a bit too much for the visitors when, from the restart, good work from Josh saw the ball eventually reach Oddjob who made some yards before slipping the ball to Phil Cresswell on the Cam 22. Young Phil then took flight, switched on the afterburners and left the Millbrook defence static to score on just 44 mins and with Tom D adding the extras the score moved to 37-0.
Again Cam repeated the pattern when, from the restart, lock Sam Voight took play up to halfway with a powerful run and when Cam recycled the ball quickly firstly Hoff then Jono tore the Millbrook defence to ribbons for Jono to cross for another try converted by Tommy D.
So with only 7 mins played of the second half the black and ambers had stretched their lead to 44 points.
As we have seen often this season, when the score gets to 30 + points many of the coaches words get kind of lost as everyone starts to believe that there is nothing to this try scoring lark with the result that the drills go out of the window and even tight head props demonstrate how they can dummy and step as well as the backs – in fact the assessor suggested, jokingly, that Jeff should have been penalised for showing this otherwise unknown skill – suffice it to say Jeff, for his play in both the tight and also around the park was made man of the match!!.
However the result of the black and ambers taking their foot off the gas saw the visitors enjoy some possession and on 51 mins they were rewarded for their efforts with a touch down from a lineout drive.
From the restart Millbrook tried to run the ball out but the Cam defence had been awesome all afternoon with the result that the winger appeared to run into touch rather than be tackled by Oddjob.
There then followed a period when Millbrook had possession but all they were able to achieve was to move across the field between the two 10m lines – a real tribute to the aggressive defence which has been developed in the squad during the season and when Millbrook eventually lost possession Alex Hughes and Chris Bird combined well down the blind side for Alex to cross for his second try after just 64 mins.
By this stage of the game, with a number of replacements joining the party the game became very loose and also error strewn and in the dying minutes of the game the visitors who had stuck manfully to a very difficult task were rewarded when their winger Mike Randall showed why he had scored more than 30 tries in this campaign when his brilliant line and pace took him to within a couple of metres of the Cam line before he was stopped but not before releasing one of his team mates who crossed for the final score of the game and a score 49-10.
This was another great result for the team in front of a very good crowd and was well deserved following their close game with Ironsides a couple of weeks ago.
A tremendous performance yet again by the young front row, Max, Dylan and Jeff who, as in numerous previous outings this season, were faced with a heavier and much more experienced trio but refused to submit and took the game to them from scrum 1 which they won against the head.
Sam and Tom at lock showed their quality both in the scrums, lineouts and also in the loose where their running and tackling was outstanding.
The back row have been one of the key planks on which Risey has built his team and today they again showed their class, Jono again was active all over the park managing to get on the score sheet, Josh, as he has been all season was 'the warrior', hard in attack and devastating in defence while the 'old man' of the pack Hoff was as he is so often, outstanding – securing vital lineout ball at 2, fierce in defence and his bullocking runs made many metres for his side.
Half backs Roger and Tom again ran the show, Rog very noisily keeping his forwards focussed while Tom quietly provides the link to release his lethal back line – and of course his kicking has been a huge asset to the side all season.
Centres Joe and Oddjob were outstanding again today and have proved to be a potent pairing both in attack and defence and the development of our centre play through the season has been a joy to watch,
The back three today of Birdy, Phil Cresswell and Alex were exciting to watch with loads of pace and skill although Alex is, I believe, an even better #8 but with pace and a great rugby brain he is able to fill most slots although I guess he won't volunteer for #s 1-3 shirts any time soon!!.
Phil Cresswell has made real progress this year and his defence in the last few games has been outstanding and we all know how dangerous he can be with ball in hand while Birdy looked much more at ease on the wing than in some of the games when he has played 13.
The replacements also played their part with Will O'Meara who, as with most of the team, has developed significantly during the season in terms of his fitness and also his confidence and will surely figure heavily in next seasons squad, James Armstrong at 9 always adds a different dimension when he plays and his pace has proved to be a real asset while young Magoo certainly makes up in what he might lack in stature with his effort and work rate while it was good to see Muggy doing his bit at tighthead for the last quarter.
So its LSW3 next season – just reward for an outstanding season under Risey and his coaching team who must take much credit for what their squad has achieved and it is great to see so many of our 'Older members' coming to Watchetts to support this team and creating such a buzz around the club.
Next week we have our final game, the Surrey Shield Final, against Ironsides at Esher on Monday 4th ko 16.45 and it would be a great end to Gareth's first year as DoR to bring that trophy back to Watchetts.
Also many thanks to the U11s who formed a guard of honour for both teams and also worked as ball boys for the match - great turnout - brilliant advert for the club - thankyou
And finally – despite Dinger (Bell) giving me a hard time about the state of play at Castle Grim during the afternoon against Newcastle it is good to report that when the Cherry and Whites put on their 1st XV for the final quarter they were able to claw back a 17 point deficit to win by 2 – so Chris, long trip home for your guys then.