Lack Lustre Cam no match for Exiles
A very poor display sees Cam give up their 16 game (11 month) unbeaten league record without a fight
On their trip to Barnes the Camberley supporters were probably much more concerned with the impact of Storm Brian rather than the dangers of the opposition although it was only just over a year since Exiles had trounced the black and ambers at Watchetts. In fact the much talked about storm failed to materialise other than as a strong cross wind during the game but the opposition more than made up for this with their own storming display which left the visitors well and truly beaten and their 16 match unbeaten run in the league, which started on 26th November 2016, in tatters.
With Cam kicking off, the first five minutes of the game gave no hint as to what would follow as they won the first scrum with ease and good play by Ash and Josh L took play into the Exiles half and quick ball saw The Warrior charge into the 22 before the visitors were pinged at the ensuing ruck and although the attempt for 3 points was pushed wide the omens looked good .
The next phase again saw Cam throwing training ground passes despite the difficult conditions and despite again forcing their way back into the Exiles red zone poor control and dreadful tackling saw the home side move quickly into the Cam half and dot down with just 10 mins played
This was the time for cool heads and leadership, instead the Cam restart failed to make 10m and from the resultant scrum on half way the Exiles backs broke through Cams paper thin defence only to be called back for a forward pass.
Again Cam moved into the Exiles red zone and even stole the home sides lineout but a loose pass was gratefully seized upon by their centre who raced the length of the pitch to score a converted try with just 16 mins on the clock.
Almost in shock we then saw Cam drive a lineout maul from halfway deep into the Exiles 22 again only to concede a yet another penalty and the home side were able to relieve the pressure.
At this stage it was very difficult to see what the Cam game plan was, in fact it seemed to be 15 individuals all playing for themselves and believing that despite the difficult conditions they were playing touch on a Thursday evening - as tackling and sensible go forward rugby seemed to be the thing furthest from their minds and in fact they could have gone further behind when the Exiles rather butchered another clean break.
To be fair the Exiles have, over the seasons, always been a quality side and I suspect that, if they could maintain a consistent 1st XV throughout the season, they would be regularly battling for honours, and today they certainly came with a solid game plan which was to keep things simple, no extravagant passing and to be quick and physical in defence with everyone making their tackles, a plan which, to a man, they executed to perfection.
In contrast the black and ambers seemed incapable of changing their tactics and as a result fell further behind when the home side, who were now growing in confidence sliced through again to score on 34 mins making the score 19-0 and that was how it stayed until the break.
Having seen Cam overturn a similar score at Winchester a few weeks ago there seemed to be no undue alarm among the supporters and the half time 'pep' talk by Risey seemed to be equally as animated but this time things did not seem to improve with Hoff claiming the restart but being pushed back 10m by 2 or 3 Exiles players while being watched by his teammates.
We then witnessed another brainless few minutes when a kick by Exiles from halfway went out on the full deep in the Cam 22. So instead of taking the lineout on halfway we decided to take a quick lineout 5m from our line to the surprise of the Cam player who was not prepared and only manages to fly hack the ball forward to another Cam player who, without thinking, picked it up conceding a penalty inside the Cam 22. Exiles were experienced enough to make the most of this opportunity and as well as scoring another unconverted try the pressure brought a Cam yellow card and so they faced the uphill task with 14 men.
Then, despite the loss of a man, Cam managed to put a few phases together and good breaks by Josh L and Oyoni took play up to the Exiles line and after numerous failed attempts to drive over the ball was swung out wide for Ben Bowen to cross in the corner on 60 mins.
At this stage Cam were starting to play some better rugby but all too often the final pass was not good and also whenever they threatened the Exiles defence was more than a match for them until in the 79th minute another period of pressure on the Exiles line saw prop Steve Hastings cross for another unconverted try but despite great efforts to claim a losing bonus point it was all much too little too late.
This was a very poor display by Cam who were never allowed to play their expansive game by a very good Exiles side whose tackling was outstanding on the day and for the second time this season the comment ' a team needs to earn the right to play expansive rugby' would seem to apply. I'm sure that this week the coaching team will be concentrating on communication, support, discipline, teamwork and defence - not much then for a couple of hours on a Thursday night.
On a brighter note no one could miss the ear to ear smile on JJ's face at the end of the 2s game he was looking after as he proudly reported a 57-7 win against Exiles 2s while the 3s managed a 47-27 win over Effingham
Next week we have another double header this time Effingham 1s and 2s visit Watchetts - currently scheduled for a 3.00 ko
And Finally, the C&Ws put in a stellar performance against a young Agen side to score 9 tries in atrocious conditions and recover from their defeat the previous week in France, so now with Europe over until December its back to the Prem with a trip to the Wreck on Sunday 29th.