Physical Andover no match in the end for Pacey Cambo
Despite a promising opening 10 mins the large Andover side were eventually no match for a pacey, aggressive and streetwise Camberley .
The trip down the A303 was yet another potential 'banana skin' game and to many of those watching the first 10 mins, during which time the home pack took the black and ambers pack apart and raced to a 7 point lead, the prospects seemed quite poor but this side if it has anything has guts, determination and pace in abundance and despite suffering at every scrum throughout the game they had replied with 5 converted tries by the break and added a further 4 tries in the second period although they will all be somewhat disappointed that in the dying moments they allowed Andover to pinch a try bonus point.
The game started with Cam playing up the slope in bright sunshine on a pitch where the grass was probably a tad too long but that was of no consequence to the visitors. Andover were really pumped from the start and were soon attacking the Camberley line and after they had destroyed the black and amber pack at a couple of scrums they swung the ball wide allowing their winger to dot down for a converted try after just 7 mins.
The restart saw Andover knock on and Mac did well to collect the ball with his pack going backwards but the black and ambers made progress into the home 22 and were beginning to threaten and after another altogether better scrum the ball was eventually moved wide for Oyoni to cross for a try which was converted by HT on 15 mins.
Following the restart Cam won their scrum but again Mac at #8 was struggling to retrieve the ball with his front 5 under so much pressure but he did and burst through and made 25m before his pass to Oyoni was adjudged to have been forward. But this gave Cam field position again and despite being under tremendous pressure they took full advantage of sloppy handling by the home side and several sharp attacks eventually saw Joey Wood and Oyoni drive the ball up to the line where Mac then forced his way over to dot down for the second score with HT adding the extras.
Things then got worse for Andover when, from the restart great rugby again saw Cam move back into their opponents half and although they knocked on giving the hosts some respite with a scrum they then easily neutralised the very pedestrian attack and Oyoni effectively 'mugged' his opposite number coming away with the ball and a simple 20m jog to dot down under the posts and with HT again adding the extras the score had moved to 21-7.
Again from the restart Hughsey made good yards before good hands again saw Mac up to the 22 and when Voighty, playing his first 1s game of the season after deciding to try out back row in the 2s, made the first of several great lineout steals which allowed the backs again to threaten the Andover try line and this pressure saw a great break by Joey Wood, another having his first start with the 1s this season and eventually Mac forcing himself over for another converted try and the bonus point.
Clearly the home side may have had a strong pack but they had no answer to the pacey and skilful attacks which were raining down on them as, from the restart Cam again threw the ball around and we had the sight of Josh Watson ball in hand with 50m to run to the line desperately looking for support - not something he relishes as he is much happier smashing opposition ball carriers, so when he was caught the ball was recycled quickly and moved across the park where 'evergreen' TommyA was there to score and so with just over 30 mins played the score was now 7-35. The final period of the first half was played in the Cam half where they easily repelled the home side's attacks and I for on was quite amused to see veteran tight head Dan, finding himself at scrum half at a lineout on the Cam 22, calmly kick the ball into touch having been told that it was the last play - thats what experience does for you!!!
To be fair to Andover the break clearly had a positive effect as they came out all guns blazing for the start of the second half and were soon attacking with TommyA making a last ditch tackle on one of their centres when the line beckoned. We then had a short comedy sketch when HT having collected an Andover penalty in his in goal area then ran forward about 5m before an errant pass to no one gave the visitors an attacking lineout which then became a 5m scrum. But as some sort of redemption for the winger he pounced on another disastrous mistake at the base of the scrum and made it to the other end of the park (probably further than he had sprinted for several years) to dot down although this effort had completely exhausted him and he missed the conversion and then had to come off for a rest.
Andover then had a period of pressure and, despite the continued aggressive tackling by the black and ambers, they scored their second try on 51 mins.
Stung into action from the restart we saw Cam attacking with some menace and a great series of phases well managed by Ben Bowen at scrum half saw the direction switch several times before we saw replacement wing Josh burst through a flimsy defence before passing to Rory Lils for his first try for the club converted by Smarty (as HT was resting).
Cam soon returned to the red zone after the restart and we saw Mac in the thick of it again almost putting young hooker Mua over but from the resultant lineout it was good to see the catch and drive working well and then, from an Andover lineout in their 22 yet another great steal by Voighty saw a very physical charge from young Mua before the ball was again recycled quickly for Oyoni to score yet again and with Smarty adding the extras the score had moved to 14-54 with 66 mins played.
The game eventually became much more scrappy and with Cam down to 14 and eventually the home side added a third try but again Cam came right back almost immediately when Rory, who was having a really good physical game, picked up a loose Andover pass and fed Oyoni who stormed towards the line before slipping the ball to Josh for Cams final try of the afternoon.
Slack defence in time added on saw Andover cross for their bonus point score - a tribute to their guys who, despite conceding 9 tries, kept going until the end.
This was a great team effort when you consider that from start to finish the Cam front five were under the cosh and any scrum time ball they did win was always on the back foot - a tremendous performance from them all and with Stephen (I am really a winger) watching from the sidelines following an injury early in the game this meant that young Nick Barry had to play 70+ mins in what was probably the hardest game of his short career but he came out smiling and ready for more of the same next week. It was also great to see Voighty attack the Andover lineouts so successfully, something which denied them so much ball and took the pressure off his side, that there must be a question as to his best position???
The back row of Hughsey, The Warrior and Mac were just immense with a huge tackle count between them and Mac driving the team forward whenever he had the opportunity rightfully winning the MoM award for the second week in a row.
Ben Bowen, another having his first 1s league game of the season, brought a lot of pace to the side and worked well with Smarty.
As with the backs the three centres used, Oli, Joey (first 1s start for more than a season and looking very sharp) and Rory again contributed hugely in this victory both in attack and defence and were all much to hot for the home side.
The back three were also outstanding Oyoni with his handful of tries, HT with his 100m dash plus his kicking, Josh for his pace plus the physical challenge he set Andover and evergreen TommyA who is a delight to watch (at least most of the time) and I've watched him on and off for 16 years or so but when I heard him encouraging his teammates to 'stick to the process' I realised that pantomime season was almost on us!!!
So a great result for Risey - just a bit more pay back for the coaching team's efforts and so next week we venture into Hants again - hopefully today's chaos on the M3 will be cleared by next Saturday when I'm sure there will be another warm welcome awaiting this very talented bunch of players.
And Finally - well yes the C&W's managed to beat the Sauce boys last night but it was all a bit too close for comfort when, from leading 24-6 courtesy of 3 extremely good tries, they ended up playing the last 10 with 14 men due to an injury after the bench had been unloaded finally hanging on to win 24-19 but with Worcs in our red zone for the last 5 mins it was not good for the old heart.