Cam Storm to Divisional Crown at Charlton Park
Cam Weather the Snow Storm to claim the London Division Intermediate Title
The day started with the real chance that the game would be postponed as the threatened snow storm started but an optimistic call from the hosts meant that despite some misgivings the coach driver headed off for East London.
However as the journey progressed the depth of the snow didn't increase and so we were greeted by a pitch with a light dusting of snow and a biting wind blowing almost directly across.
The game started with Cam playing up quite a significant slope and when they won the lineout on the home side's 10m line and drove it 15m the signs were good and when the ball was eventually released a great line by Dyl saw him surge over the gain line before a beautiful 'behind his back' pop pass saw Oli speed over for a converted try with just 4 mins on the clock.
Charlton Park, who won the Divisional Shield and just lost in the Twickenham final last season, are a very large and physical side whose main attacking weapons seemed to be the scrum, a well drilled pick and drive from the forwards and they also had a number of backs who preferred to run through their opponents rather than around them and in fairness they caused Cam plenty of issues in the scrums for the first 40 mins and which even delivered a yellow card for one of the Cam props in the first 10 mins.
However the young front row together with 'Grandad' Dan stood up really well to this presure and with a visibly tiring opposition they certainly were a match for their experienced opponents after half time.
So with Cam down to 14 the hosts applied some pressure which initially was handled well but on 20 mins they cracked the black and ambers defence when their winger collected a crossfield kick and dotted down for a converted try.
From a very scrappy phase of play following that try a great turnover saw young Nick Barry
drive out of his 22 and when the ball came to Hughsey the flanker burst through the defence before drawing the last defender and setting Oli off for his second score of the afternoon and a 14-7 scoreline on just 30 mins.
However as the bitterly cold but hugely loyal black and amber supporters relaxed a tad direct from the restart the home side intercepted a well telegraphed pass out wide to narrow the gap to 14-12.
Although there was no further score before the break there were signs appearing that Cam were beginning to take control as their very physical defence kept the home side penned in their half and so we reached half time, when the players sensibly left the field for a cup of warming tea, while the temperature for the supporters just kept falling.
Again almost certainly due to the cold wind there were more errors than usual from the black and ambers but to their credit they were always quick to recover and we then saw a 15 min or so period when the home side had possession but were completely unable to move out of the area between their 22 and 10m lines due to some absolutely ferocious and disciplined defence by Cam and this in the end brought its just rewards.
On 55 mins from a turnover we saw young Nick collect the ball on the Charlton Park 22 and faced by the home sides back division he calmly stepped the first defender and charged to the line and despite the several defenders hanging on to him he calmly and expertly reached down one handed to dot the ball over the whitewash for an outstanding score – what do they teach young tight heads these days.
And more was to come as when Hughsey collected the restart kick he decided on one of his trademark runs full of pace and power plus 'sitting down' any opponents foolish enough to be in his path and when he was eventually stopped on the 22 the ball was recycled quickly and we saw the Flying Fijian cross for an unconverted try and a score of 26-12 on 58 mins.
The game then became very attritional as the home side ran out of ideas on how they could crack the Cam defence and so some of the play became unnecessarily violent causing several nasty injuries to black and amber players but despite this aggression Cam added a final score when TommyD, on for the injured Smarty, made a neat break from halfway and his chip, which should have been dealt with by the home side, was simply knocked back over the try line for Oli to follow up and touch down making the final score 12-33.
This was an outstanding result for the black and ambers against a very strong side who just couldn't handle Cam's fantastic D and lacked the pace and guile to challenge the visitors pace all across the park.
The front frow of Dan, Dyl and Nick plus Mua on as a replacement had a torrid afternoon against what is probably the best front three they have played against this season and although they struggled in the tight they left their opponents for dead in open play with Nick and his superb try, Dyl flying around the field all afternoon and Dan still believing he is a natural 10.
Voighty and Hoff in the row both had fantastic games with some of their bone crunching tackles a joy to behold and the back row as in so many games got through a mountain of work both in attack and defence. The backs, despite the terrible conditions for them, clearly outplayed their opposition with their pace and clever interplay and also contributed big time to the defensive efforts.
This weeks MoM was deservedly shared between Sam and Dyl but quite frankly it could have been almost anyone as we saw some massive shifts across the team.
So next week we return to League rugby with the visit of O Reigatians 1s and 2s to Watchetts when a win would probably secure top spot. A great day of rugby is in store together with a Beer Festival and for those of you who want to dance, the Irish Night as well.
Then we have the Regional final of the Intermediate Cup when we travel to Gloucester where our opponents are Coney Hill who beat Windsor in their Divisional Final today – The team will need great support that day as I can assure you the locals will be out in numbers.
And Finally – well another blank weekend for the C&Ws although the final of the Anglo Welsh will be played at Castle Grim tomorrow – no prizes for guessing which side the Glaws supporters will be supporting – I suspect you can't buy an Indian head dress ot tomahawk in Gloucester this week