At the halfway point in the season Medway prove just too good for the black and ambers
On a damp, grey Saturday with a stiff breeze blowing almost across the pitch Cam marked the halfway point in their League programme with the visit of pre season promotion favourites Medway. In their first season at this level we have often talked about the young squad learning lessons from each game and today, against a quality side, they learned that if you lose out at scrum and lineout time life becomes very hard and in addition successful rugby is about 80 mins at as close to maximum effort and concentration as possible. Today we saw glimpses of what the black and ambers are capable of with some delightful breaks by the backs and one text book driving maul which resulted in a score but for long periods Cam were simply off the pace in what, was for them, an error strewn and somewhat lethargic performance. In fairness Medway were clearly the toughest side to have played at Watchetts this season with a solid scrum, aggressive defence and quality throughout the side and were clearly delighted to have taken Cam's unbeaten home record, despite playing 20 mins with 14 men, on the day when the Club had hosted almost 100 supporters at their Xmas lunch. With Cam kicking off towards the clubhouse we soon had the sight of Oyoni receiving a defensive kick by Medway and charging back into the visitors 22 forcing a penalty which was pushed into the corner and following yet another pen Smarty decided to take the points on 5 mins. The game then saw both sides spilling possession at key moments but a 5m lineout saw a neat move by Medway score from a break around the front on 15 mins. Medway were the next to score when again a couple of soft penalties saw them progress to the Cam 22 and add a converted try on 25 mins. This latest score seemed to sting Cam into action and we saw Oyoni on the charge again from a defensive kick force Medway to carry over their line and a couple of good scrums saw the black and ambers awarded penalties and 10 mins on the naughty step for the Medway 8. We then saw Cam execute a perfect driving maul from the resulting lineout with The Warrior claiming the touch down and within 2 mins Cam were on the scoreboard again when the restart saw play return to the Medway red zone and good ball was quickly shipped to Oyoni who dotted down wide out and so on 36 mins Cam had moved into the lead 13-12. This purple patch continued for Cam when, from the restart, they again quickly put pressure onto the visitors defence which on the stroke of half time brought a further 3 points for Smarty and a further yellow for the visitors following more skullduggery. The second half saw Cam continue their new found aggression when Ash's silky running saw him outpace most of the defence and take the ball deep into Medway territory and showing great patience the black and ambers then ran through a number of phases before the Flying Fijian spotted a clear overlap to cross the whitewash for an excellent team score converted by Smarty and stretching the lead to 11 points. From the touchline it almost seemed that concentration levels then dipped and the error and penalty count increased which certainly kept the visitors in the game and when they returned to full strength they started to ask some serious questions scoring a converted try on 65 mins making the score 23-19. Again Cam moved play slowly back into the visitors 22 but a series of mistakes plus some poor decision making saw Medway back in the Cam 22 and a long miss pass on 75 mins exposed Cam's narrow defence allowing their winger to dive over in the corner for the bonus point win. Well overall it might be a disappointing end to the first half of the season making it 3 losses out of 13 games but I'm sure that at the beginning of the season Risey would have grabbed that position with both hands if he had been offered it and there must be a confidence that if the team can perform for 80 mins in every game in the second half of the season they will certainly be in the mix come April. Next week the 1s and 2s are off to Havant for their last league games of the 2018. And Finally – so have those with Cherry and White running through their veins finally seen the long awaited turn around of their team following the epic European win yesterday at Sandy Park where they played The Chiefs at their own game and in the end ran out comfortable winners – something which is rarer than hens teeth at this Devonian fortress. So all eyes on the return at Castle Grim on Friday night.