Epic Battle with League Leaders ends with Honours Even
By Roger Berry
Cam entertain London Cornish and secure a well deserved bonus point draw against the runaway League leaders
On a bright, fresh January Saturday, Cam entertained League Leaders London Cornish in one of the key encounters of their season with Cam having lost away despite securing a try bonus in the fixture at Cornish earlier in the season.
The game was preceded with all the teams playing at Watchetts observing a minute's silence to honour the passing of former President Tony Carter, our larger than life friend who, coincidentally, was born in Falmouth and Cornish to the core.
With Cam sitting in second place trailing Cornish by 'a lot', the game was clearly important for both clubs and, to their credit, both sides produced an excellent, competitive and pulsating game with both sides demonstrating why they are the current League front runners.
The game saw Cam kicking off towards the clubhouse with a brisk breeze blowing from their left. They quickly regained possession and when a break by Ollie Wright on the right was halted we saw the ball quickly recycled and Josh Watson charging through the Cornish defence before the ball reached Hughsey who dotted down in the corner on the left hand side with just 3 mins played.
Cam did not manage the restart well and from a scrum in the Cam 22 the visitors found it all too easy to shred the home sides defence wide on the right and with the successful conversion move into a 2 point lead with only 6 mins on the clock.
This lead proved to be very short lived when a great lineout take saw the black and ambers on the attack and when they were awarded a penalty on the Cornish 10m young Smarty claimed the 3 points making the score 8-7 after just 10mins.
We then saw a period of intense Cornish pressure but the Cam D was excellent and when the ball was eventually turned over centre Ollie Wright following the kick made two key tackles on halfway but yet another pen saw Cornish again take play deep into the red zone and a series of pick and drives eventually produced a converted try on 25 mins.
Cam then enjoyed a bit more possession and a couple of pens saw them move into the visitors half and they eventually drew a penalty which Smarty converted so with 35 mins played the deficit was just 3 points.
We again then saw a great period of Cam defence with the Cornish crabbing backwards and forwards around the halfway line desperate to break the black and amber line and when they eventually turned over possession Cam created their own attacking platform and moved into the Cornish 22. On the stoke of halftime however, such was the intensity of the defence on both sides, a great tackle by the visitors out wide saw the ball fly lose and with a couple of fly kicks the Cornish winger won the race to touch down for a converted try and a halftime lead of 11-21.
The second half started with Cam on the attack again and with just 3 mins played we saw Smarty throw an outrageous miss pass from the centre of the park to Hoff positioned on the touchline and the hardworking lock pinned his ears back and raced the 30+m to the corner to reduce the deficit to 5 points.
The restart was initially handled well by Cam but another mistake saw Cornish back in the red zone exerting pressure on the young pack. However, with the scrum struggling just 10m from his line #8 Mac picked up the ball and it was moved quickly via Oyoni, Ash and Ollie before they unleashed the Welsh Speedster Laz who burned off the opposition to complete an 80m move and touch down in the corner for an unconverted try which brought the score back to 21-21 after 50 mins.
With the game set for a pulsating climax we saw Cam manage the restart well but some 'over optimistic' play saw the visitors back in possession and only a excellent tackle by fullback TommyA kept the visitors out but the resultant series of 5m scrums were just too much for Cam and saw the home side eventually concede a penalty try.
To their credit Risey's young warriors still refused to be bullied by their vastly more experience and physical opponents and within 5 minutes they had levelled the scores again when good quick ball saw Ollie Wright in the centre break several tackles before speeding off from halfway to dot down under the posts and with TommyD adding the extras the score was tied at 28-28 and despite the valiant efforts to find a chink in each others armour for the last 15 mins the defences of both sides held firm and so the game ended with the spoils shared, with each side earning a try bonus as well as the 2 points for the draw.
This was an excellent game of rugby between two very capable sides, one with bags of experience all around the park while the other, much younger squad made up for their lack of experience with ferocious defence, some excellent skill and a never say die attitude which has seen them through many encounters this season.
In fairness this was a game of such quality and commitment it would not seem appropriate to single out individual performances suffice it to say there were 15 very tired and bruised bodies in the Camberley dressing room at the end of this outstanding spectacle and no doubt Risey will be demanding at least a repeat performance in 2 weeks time when the 1s visit London Exiles who, on their visit to Watchetts earlier in the season, totally outplayed the home side.
Congratulations to both sides for an excellent game of rugby and we wish Cornish all the best in their quest for promotion.
It turned out to be a very successful day for all of the Camberley sides with the 2s winning 36-10 away at Old Emmanuels and the 3s beating Chobham 22-12.
Next week the 2s play their first round of the Surrey Plate at Watchetts versus Reeds 2s - kick off is 12.30 as apparently some of the opposition have tickets for the late ko at Twickenham.
And Finally - so following their bonus point win last week in the European Challenge Cup which put them at the top of their pool the 2nd string last night forced a well earned draw away at that muddy field surrounded by scaffolding which is the home of Barf, in the AW cup competition.