Cam Sign Off with Surrey Trophy
By Roger Berry
Cam complete their excellent season by beating Ironsides in the Surrey Trophy Final
Cam's final runout of the season was Surrey Finals day held at Esher when they again found themselves pitched against old adversaries Battersea Ironsides in a repeat of last seasons Shield final.
This time, however Cam had dealt with the Irons twice in the League and were looking for the hat trick win.
Playing into a stiff breeze in the first half Cam were soon in the ascendancy with the scrum beginning to push the Irons around allowing scrum half TommyD the opportunity to scrag his opposite number on numerous occasions and from one of these turnovers the 9's chip ahead was followed up and touched down only for the ref to call for a 5m scrum. Cam won a penalty at the scrum but oddly chose to run the ball rather than take the 3 points.
In these opening minutes it was clear that the wind was making passing difficult for both sides but with the black and amber scrum dominant at this time and following another scrum penalty the resultant lineout drive saw Dan Neal touch down with just 12mins on the clock.
At this stage, with the forwards going so well the loyal Cam supporters were beginning to look for a comfortable victory but too often poor skills in the breezy conditions and some over elaborate options together with a very solid and committed Irons defence saw a number of good scoring opportunities wasted - I still don't understand why everyone now seems to feel that every pass has to travel at the speed of sound even if your team mate is only 3 meters away!!!
So the first half continued with good bits of rugby from both sides, some very hefty tackling but no further scores until 30mins when a couple of pens saw Irons make a rare visit to the Cam 22 and although their first driving maul was held up a quick dart around the blindside saw them dot down for a try.
The Cam restart was followed up expertly by hooker Dylan and when he leapt to claim the ball he was taken out by one of the Irons locks who was then given 10 mins on the naughty step, soon to be joined by Dylan but with both sides unable to gain dominance the score remained at 5-5 until the ref blew for half time.
Rather worryingly the first period of the second half saw Irons, now playing into the breeze, exert considerable pressure and twice they managed to cross the line but were held up and the black and ambers were able to eventually turn the ball over. During this period of defence we saw some crunching tackles all over the park but none so impressive as young winger Musa's, a colt playing only his second game for the 1s, hit on his opposite number winning a relieving penalty and lots of back slaps from his team mates.
Cam then began to play a bit themselves and Jono was unlucky not to add to his tally of tries when he was stopped illegally with only the try line infront of him but from the 5m lineout that followed Cam attacked hard and when they were awarded a pen in front of the posts this time there was no hesitation and TommyD converted it to put the black and ambers back in front.
The restart saw prop Dan Neal make 40m and take play back into the Irons 22 - the right part of the field to be playing the game and another turnover saw Joe Wood almost through for a score. In these final minutes Cam were definitely back on their game with crunching tackles all over the park keeping the Irons deep within their half until the final whistle.
Not the most accomplished performance to which we have become accustomed this season largely down to the conditions and a very determined Irons side, a game much more about defence than attack and also with a great scrummaging performance the black and ambers always just about had the edge.
Mac got through oceans of work at the base of the scrum as every call seem to be for him to pickup and go, young Musa did everything asked of him and showed that he will be pushing hard for a 1st team place next season. It was a bit of a tough first game this season in the 1s for Cameron and although he suffered from some of the poor passing he put in a very solid defensive shift.
However much of the work was done by the forwards and among them Jono was outstanding, managing a number of turnovers and not allowing the opposition to distract him which has happened sometimes in earlier encounters.
Finally this was winger Phil Cresswell's last game for the black and ambers for a while as his job moves to the West Country - Phil has been tremendous this season scoring a hatful of tries and will leave a serious hole in the back three but we wish him well with his new job and also his rugby.
And now for our C&Ws update - well they became the only Premiership club this season to win at Sale on Friday but despite this and their win over Exeter the previous week its all too little too late and unless a whole series of results go their way over the next couple of weeks they will not make the top European tournament again for another season - still change is afoot with both the attack coach (we haven't scored many tries!!) and the S&C coach both leaving at the end of the season - we can but hope.!!!