So we all arrived at Watchetts, courtesy of a very late venue switch, with most of the supporters wondering how their side, without 7 of last seasons squad who have retired, on sabbaticals or moved to another club, would perform against the completely unknown HAC. Hopes were dampened further when the supporters became aware that player coach Ash and man mountain prop Bazza were also not on the team sheet. However in a good but far from perfect performance the black and ambers, after a sloppy first quarter, produced some excellent rugby to complete a 58-13 victory which promised to be much larger until centre Jaid who had been a threat all afternoon in the centre suffered a sickening clash of heads with the result that after a long delay the final 15 mins were played on another pitch while the ambulance and physios took great care of the young player. The good news is that he is reported to be fine, the less good news is that he will clearly miss a couple of games while he goes through the HIA protocol – a great introduction for our new physio Megan.
The game started with both sides making lots of mistakes with some players looking like they hadn't seen a rugby ball before but after HAC knocked over a penalty Cam showed what they were capable of as, from the restart, the home side regained possession and a beautiful line by Jaid saw him dot down under the posts and with Smarty adding the extras the score was 7-3 after 5 mins.
At this stage Cam had already established dominance at the scrum but some of the b defensive systems in the backs seemed a little new to some of the players and a clever miss pass by HAC caught Cam out and the visitors retook the lead with a converted try.
Again straight from the restart Cam moved into the HAC 22 and after a number of phases we saw Ed Grosvenor cross for try with again birthday boy Smarty adding the extras on just 14 mins.
At this stage with the scrum dominant it seemed only a matter of time before Cam added to their lead but it was HAC who scored next through a penalty on 24 mins.
The restart saw Oyoni almost over and skipper Tom was almost through with a great break down the blindside and this pressure eventually told on HAC when they were penalised on their 22 another gift for the birthday boy and a score of 17-13 after 30 mins.
The game still fgelt very much like a pre season warm up and when Smarty overcooked the opportunity to lay siege to the HAC line it seemed that another chance had gone begging but a great break by Dyl took play deep into the red zone and the talented hooker was on hand to crash over wide out and with Smarty adding the extras with a quality kick the score had moved to 24-13 with 39 mins played.
The second half saw Cam start to get things together and we soon saw a great break by Oyoni who made it to within 5m and although HAC managed to find touch on their 10m a great lineout drive saw the black and ambers power into the opposition 22 and it was that man Dyl again who emerged from the drive and with a mighty hand off forced himself over for a fabulous forwards try.
From the restart Cam appeared much more energetic and a great show and go by scrum half Tom should have resulted in another try but the pass was delayed and the opportunity became a penalty shot which Smarty accepted.
Again the restart saw a great take by flanker Ed who charged into the opposition half supported by Dom and after a brief spell of possession by HAC we saw lock Dom again in the action when he intercepted a perfectly good pass on his 10m line and charged through the defence only to be tackled 5m short however his effort was not in vain as quickly recycled ball saw Hughsey cross wide out for another converted try.
Direct from the restart we again had the sight of our all action Dom again taking the ball cleanly and charging through to the HAC 10m and with the all of the pressure now on the visitors it was only a matter of time before the next score which came on 60 mins when a blindside move saw winger Taggs win the foot race to touch down and we also saw Smarty's 100% record go when his kick hit the post but at this stage the score was 46-13 and despite their pluck HAC were now hardly at the races.
And the next score was not long in arriving when, from more pressure, we saw Oyoni pick up a loose ball and sprint over in the corner after just 67 mins.
Straight from the restart Cam put on the pressure and centre Jaid who had looked threatening whenever he had the ball was again on the attack when a sickening clash of heads left him lying motionless on the pitch and eventually the expertise of Megan ably assisted by last years physios Sophie and Livvy it was decided to leave the player until the arrival of the ambulance and so the game was moved to 2s pitch.
In fact this made things hard for both sides after a long break and we witnessed a pretty scrappy last 10 mins with HAC spurning lots of opportunities through poor handling however it was rather fitting that my personal MoM, Dom, crowned a great performance with a try in the dying moments of the game.
So a great start to the new season although to put it into context I suspect that HAC did not provide the quality of opposition that we will encounter from a number of the more established sides but as all wise coaches say you can only play what is in front of you.
Overall the pack were outstanding with young Ricky at loose head having an excellent debut while Ryan and Dom in the row were outstanding and young flankers Ed and another debut boy Matt worked hard all afternoon.
The backs, well managed by skipper Tom and fly half Smarty looked very sharp in attack with Jaid, Taggs and Dimples all very threatening but defensively there is still work to be done and their communication needs to improve.
So a good result, lots of positives, plenty of workons but above all of that our hopes are that Brizzle Boy Jaid returns fit and well very soon.
And Finally – well still no Prem games – the C&Ws are now in Portugal for their final big training session – with some of the Tiggers players already making headlines out in the Algarve we must hope that Cips and his mates keep under the radar.
Next week 1s and 2s entertain Cobham in what should be another great weekend at Watchetts
Pic shows lock Dom on the charge - courtesy of Callum's Dad