Seaside Seems to Suit Cam as they Sweep Dover Aside
Dover Drowned by Camberley Storm
For those loyal supporters making the trip to Dover for this National Cup game things did not look brilliant when the rain started to fall as soon as we made the M20 as we already felt that their team were in for a tough afternoon with a number of key players unavailable and also the bench reduced to 2 at the last moment. However an outstanding performance saw the squad's increasing maturity allow them to manage the threat posed by the home side particularly in the tight and eventually to record a comfortable victory with a display of controlled rugby in pretty poor conditions.
The game started with Cam playing down the slope and the black and ambers were soon camped in the Dover red zone and went ahead on 8 mins when a neat chip by HT was followed up by speedster Jamie who touched down in the corner. Despite the conditions TommyD had a great day with the boot and converted this and 3 more tries from the touch line despite the poor conditions giving a master class in place kicking.
It was clear even in these early minutes that although the pack was struggling against a very physical eight in the tight, the black and ambers had the upper hand in open play with all 15 happy to run the ball at pace and as a result Cam were soon playing deep in the Dover 22 and following a couple of efforts being held up over the line, when Hoff received the ball 5m out there was absolutely no doubt that he would not be held up and so after 12 mins the score had moved to 14-0.
With the rain continuing, conditions were not helping Cam's expansive game and so we saw a period of scrappy play before a mix up in their defensive set up saw Dover's right wing dot down for a converted try on 30 mins.
This clearly acted as a wakeup call for Cam who almost immediately returned to the opposition 22 and with Sean, having his first League start, taking the ball off the top it was moved swiftly to Ash who exposed the Dover defence to make the score 21-7 at the break.
The second period got off to the worst possible start with star centre Oli forced off through injury, something which, with the already depleted bench, clearly put more pressure on the team, however good aggressive defence and pacey running by the black and ambers saw them win a penalty on the home 22 which TommyD converted to extend the lead to 24-7 on 47 mins.
We then saw a period of pressure by Dover but they clearly lacked the ability to break down the Cam defence and when play moved back to halfway we saw a great example of the side's ability. Firstly Mac again rescued the ball at the back of a retreating scrum and he and Hoff made a few metres before the ball was recycled releasing Jamie who burned up the touchline before drawing the last defender and putting Ash over for an excellent score particularly considering the conditions.
With players from both sides beginning to suffer the game again become a little less accurate but it was good to see HT collect a defensive kick deep in his own half and streak through the tiring defence only to be stopped 10m short from what would have been an outstanding score.
Then, in the closing stages the fitness of the young black and ambers again told when they scored 2 more tries, the first saw Hoff again crash over under the posts, a well deserved reward for his efforts in the tight, and then finally we saw Oyoni display his trademark pace and physicality to touch down in time added on.
This was indeed an excellent performance by a much changed team – tribute to the SiD that Risey is developing within the senior squad and there is no doubt that all 17 put in very big shifts.
The back three were always too pacey for the opposition and Ash, Oli and Rory were outstanding both in attack and defence in the midfield.
IMHO Smarty had his best game for the 1s and in conditions when most 10s would wish to be somewhere else, his game management went up several notches with his judicious use of the touchline keeping Cam playing in the right areas. Again he was helped by TommyD who also had a really good game at 9 and his kicking from the tee was exemplary.
So we come to the forwards who, to a man, worked so hard for each other that despite the mismatch at scrum time, overall had the best of their opponents who could not match the black and ambers all round game with all 8 happy to have ball in hand anywhere on the park – in fact veteran loose head Dan several times showed amazing skills playing at 10 and of course Hoff, who's leadership on the day was outstanding, scored twice.
Mac, as always was outstanding despite the challenges he had at scrum time and caused the opposition so many problems when he attacked and young Nick, despite still suffering from the flu put in a great shift as he settles into the squad and TK, with almost as much strapping as 'The Invisible Man' , bravely returned to the pitch despite carrying a painful shoulder injury and was always in the vanguard.
However special mention must go to the players who were starting for the first time - Sean in the row had a solid debut, and Adam, despite his size was not daunted when he took his place in the front row along with young Mua (combined ages of those 2 plus Nick can be no more than 60) however the teams MoM went to pint size Shawa who despite giving away stones and many inches to the opposition played out of his skin and his fitness and skills meant that his tackle count was amazing. Unfortunately he did suffer from cramp for some of the second half (later on I discovered that in fact he had cycled from uni in Guildford in the morning and was planning to return in the same manner that evening – I suspect his legs will be a tad sore today}
So we now come to what three games season defining games starting with the away game next week against joint leaders Old Reigatians, followed by third placed Twickenham at home and completing 2017 with the return fixture at Farnham.
And Finally – things are really beginning to look up at Castle Grim following their outstanding win against The Sorries on Friday evening when an immense defensive display in the first half was followed by an brilliant second half when they came from 3-9 at half time to win 23-17 with the Sorries claiming a lbp with the last kick of the game and that only due to a very dubious try which they 'scored' and converted with the fastest drop kick I have seen!!!
It was very good to see Karl Dickson, ex Queens scrum half taking control of his first premiership game particularly as he was the official for our Surrey Cup game against Chobham last season.