Cam back on track with hard fought win over Dartfordians
Today's trip to Dartford was a real test of this Camberley squad as the Kent side, on a good run of results against a number of promotion chasing sides, were clearly focussed on revenge for the 11 try drubbing that they had suffered at Watchetts earlier in the season.
In the event this young squad ended up deservedly winning a contest which if sometimes lacking in quality certainly produced 80 mins of physical attrition.
With the temperature just above zero Cam were soon on the scoreboard when they managed the kickoff well moving play up field and when Smarty's kick took play into the home 22 he was on hand to slot over a penalty with just 2 mins on the clock.
Cam were soon on the attack again and on two occasions they managed just to overstretch themselves with the final pass when perhaps a tad more patience would have guaranteed a score.
Both sides at this stage were guilty of spilling possession too often but with the home side's scrum looking to dominate Cam found themselves having to work hard to get the ball into their hands but on 22 mins their pressure produced another pen which Smarty slotted.
The second quarter began with Cam having the bulk of possession but unable to break down the resolute Dartford defence and towards the end of the half yet another Cam attack saw an interception and the home side charge into the black and ambers 22. The result was a penalty and 10 mins on the naughty step for Smarty as he illegally obstructed the quick tap.
The home side did not turn this opportunity down and in the last move of the half they took advantage of the extra man to cross for a try which was converted giving them a 1 point lead at the break.
This clearly spurred the home side on as from the restart they enjoyed some good possession and with 5 mins played they crossed out wide for an unconverted try and a 12-6 scoreline.
However this lead was to be short lived as, with Cam back to full strength they took play deep into the red zone following a penalty and a great series of pick and goes eventually saw Greg Franzel crash over for a try which was converted by Smarty on 48 mins.
This score was again followed by more arm wrestling and despite good breaks by Woodsy and Rory and another great opportunity when Matty disrupted Dartford scrum ball and put Tractor Boy away as so often this afternoon the accuracy of the final pass was just not there.
At last, as play moved into the last quarter we saw the cumulative effects of the enormous defensive effort of Dartford begin to take its toll and when play moved into the red zone again the black and ambers set up another series of pick and goes this time with Ash forcing his way over and another excellent kick from Smarty took the LBP away from Dartford and despite their efforts it was Cam who were in control with some great D until the final whistle.
So certainly not the best rugby we have seen this season but a brave showing by the boys and it seems that they have now found a new weapon to add to their armoury namely the pick and go.
Missing Mac, Dyl and Bazzer from the pack certainly made things more difficult but their replacements all put in good shifts with hooker Musa growing in confidence although he must find a way to reduce the number of times he needs the physio, Greg Wilmington was in the thick of it all afternoon and his tackle count was certainly significant and in the second half we saw Tractor Boy win several pens at the breakdown at critical times. It was also good to see Hughsey successfully ripping opposition ball on a number of occasions and with Hoff, Voighty, Greg and Hasty all putting in big shifts and with veteran Dan coming on to shore up the front row in the second half it was a day when the pack can be generally pleased with their efforts.
It wasn't really a day when expansive rugby was possible but new centre partnership of Rory and Joey worked hard in defence and Oyoni did manage a dart or two while TommyA still belies his years and was imperious under the high ball.
So with all of the teams around taking maximum points with the exception of Brighton things at the top still remain interesting and challenging for the coaching team and this young squad.
Next week 1s and 2s entertain Chichester with games kicking off at 2.00.
And Finally – so from the bits of their game against Tigers I managed to see in the Dartford clubhouse it seemed that the C&Ws actually played a lot of the rugby but too often the final pass went astray (I have written that about Cam a few times this season) with the result that they came away from Welford Road empty handed and with Munster at Castle Grim on Friday clearly have work to do.
Quilter Kids First Champions winner – December: Old Hales RFC