Cam Dig Deep to secure Bonus Point Win
By Roger Berry
Cam Dig Deep to secure Bonus Point Win
The last time I can remember watching Cam at Westcombe Park was in 2001 when both sides were playing in the National League. In those intervening 18 years Cam supporters have endured the gradual descent from the heady heights of level 3 to Surrey 1 (level 9) and the resurgence over the last 4 seasons under the expert guidance of DoR Risey where this young side are promotion contenders to what used to be National 3 with just 4 games left.
This was always going to be a difficult trip for the black and ambers as Combe would certainly be looking to redress their poor, ill disciplined performance where the ended up with just 12 players on the park earlier in the season at Watchetts.
So on a dry track, set up for pacey backs, Cam were hit when skipper and speed ace Ash called in sick and whose absence was clearly felt in the 1st half when we looked decidedly under par but following a rousing half time lecture by Risey Cam switched on and scored 4 tries to take the game away from a hard working but somewhat limited Westcombe Park side.
The game got off to an inauspicious start when the home kick was far too deep resulting in a scrum on half way and we then saw a period when both sides set about finding each others weak spots. The scrum, which caused endless problems all afternoon, was an area where neither side could really understand the official and as a result one of Cams attacking options was removed, as too often the set piece ended up with what seemed a random penalty award however the Cam took the lead with a penalty on 7 mins following a surge by Mac.
However from the restart Combe won the ball back and a slick three quarter move saw their winger touch down in the corner and a great conversion made the score 7-3 after 9 mins.
The restart saw Park kick deep to TommyA who was sheer class under all of the high balls that rained down on him during the afternoon but when Hughsey marked another kick and quickly played the ball we saw Joey Wood and Dyl take play into the opposition 22 and following numerous pick and goes by Cam in the red zone the ball was swung out wide and Oyoni came in from the blind side wing and forced his way over for an unconverted try on 16 mins.
However Park soon reclaimed the lead with a training park move from a scrum on the Cam 22 resulting in the left winger again crossing in the corner and another excellent kick took the score to 14-8 after 20.
The game became quite scrappy at this stage with Cam unable to keep possession for any length of time and in defence their first up tackling left something to be desired on occasions and so when they scored for the third time in the left hand corner from a straightforward backs move moving the score to 21 -8 there were those Watchetts faithful who began to feel that the win against 7Oaks had just taken too much out of their side.
However having collected the restart a penalty saw Cam kick for a 5m lineout and with Park losing a player to the bin for illegally stopping the drive on several occasions deep into time added on Cam opted for a scrum and good work by Mac at the base saw him feed Hughsey who touched down and although it wasn't one of his more elegant kicks somehow Smarty managed to add the extras and so the score at the break was 21-15.
So the talk around the pitch was that the first score of the second half could well be critical and so it proved when from the kick off we nsaw winger Callum contesting the ball and as it fell loose Dyl was first to react and he set off to the try line before feeding Callum who touched down for a converted try and a score of 21-22.
The restart was well taken by Hughsey and soon we were scrummaging on the Park 22 and great hands and lines saw Lils stroll through a huge gap to dot down under the posts and so after 48 mins this was the bonus point and a score of 21-29.
Despite some possession Park were unable to make much progress against the Cam defence and they were driven back into their half and we then had the sight of hooker Dyl racing through just unable to make it to the line but from the resulting pressure we saw the ball eventually moved to Oyoni on the 22 and, as in so many games this season, the winger was still left with a lot to do but his pace, physicality and experience saw him touch down in the corner and when Smarty converted from the touchline the score had moved to 21-36.
Again Park attacked the Cam line and despite being repelled initially they eventually broke down the black and amber defence to score a converted try on 67 mins.
Cam then launched another series of attacks in the red zone following another brilliant aerial take by TommyA and after several pick and goes the ball was pushed wide to Joey who was held up just short but then we had the sight of young Bazza at first receiver with his customary dummy and step calmly cross for a well earned score and despite a final flurry from Park the Cam defence stood firm making the final score 28-41 and a hard earned victory for the black and ambers.
This was certainly not the full on 80 min performance which we were privileged to watch 2 weeks ago but to their credit we saw the squad manage the last minute changes and eventually do just too much for Park – although rumour has it that the main factor was a Churchillian style address by Risey to the side at half time.
The forwards again put in another massive shift and this, despite the difficulties at scrum time, and their involvement in attack and defence across the park is a huge positive to the side and a big differentiator in this league.
Again Tom Chennel at 9 called on all of his experience to manage the game and Smarty, despite a couple of lapses in his 22 has improved immeasurably over the season with his game management and choice of options plus his general control.
Today the backs looked good with the ball in hand with Joey and Lils making telling breaks while Oyoni is always class and poses a threat whenever he has ball in hand.
It was also good to see Callum in only his 2nd start become much more involved, looking for the ball, making some great tackles and also managing to get onto the score sheet while TommyA, like a good wine, just seems to get better with age. His ability under the high ball is second to none in this league and his positioning is outstanding, attributes which then allow him on occasions to play 'off the cuff'.
The 2s went to Chobham in their rearranged Zoo league game and won 48 – 26 scoring 8 tries and have convincingly won their League while the 3s beat Guildford 29-14 in what was a league and Cup game – so it looks as though they will be in their Surrey Cup Final at the beginning of May and also the League playoff comp towards the end of April.
And Finally – Well at last the C&Ws have managed to put a reasonable string of results together as their 27-14 win against The Pests at CG makes it 4 out of 5 and as a result they move ahead of The Queens into 3rd and with VRR and Ruan Dreyer now back following long layoffs the future must be Cherry and White.
Pic shows Bazza scoring his first try of the season - taken by Dinger