Monday, 30 November 2020

Cambridge narrowly have the edge to progress in national competition

HENLEY narrowly crashed out of the National Plate competition at the fifth round stage at home to Cambridge last Sunday.

HENLEY narrowly crashed out of the National Plate competition at the fifth round stage at home to Cambridge last Sunday.

The Dry Leas side kicked off in bitingly cold conditions and had much the better of the opening exchanges.

After retaining possession in the Cambridge 22 without ever threatening to score, the visitors gained control of the ball and began to move into Henley territory.

Cambridge lost one of their props to a hamstring injury early in the match and the scrums became very one-sided in Henley’s favour but the visitors managed to retain the ball, and passed quickly to their left wing who scored in the corner after nine minutes. The difficult kick was converted by the Cambridge fly half.

Henley responded by staging several attacks deep in the Cambridge half, resulting in a penalty in front of the posts, converted by fly half Ben Wiltshire.

From a series of attacks which were leading nowhere the visitors’ fly half kicked into the Henley 22, and a mix-up between the Henley wing and fullback led to a bouncing ball and a free unopposed run-in for a Cambridge player for an unconverted try.

Again Henley responded by putting further pressure on the Cambridge line with several rucks getting closer to the try line. Eventually the ball was spread wide for winger Sam Grindey to put the ball down in the corner for an unconverted try.

The game began to open up with scoring opportunities for both sides and further rucks on the Cambridge line led to a gilt-edged scoring position, but this was knocked on at the last moment. The first half ended with the visitors leading 12-8.

The second half began scrappily with knock-ons from both sides and Henley not being able to capitalise on their superior scrum.

Several penalties were kicked into touch by Henley only to lose the line-outs before the Henley captain was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

Cambridge gained a penalty of their own in front of the posts which was duly kicked over to put the visitors 15-8 up.

The visitors had several more attacks, either passing the ball back inside or using their effective right wing, who threatened several times to break free and score again.

With full-time fast approaching, Henley staged another attack for prop Tom Bowman to score in the corner. Winger Jack Antoniou took the difficult kick but hit the posts, just failing to convert the try.

There was still time for a restart and Henley quickly moved the ball to Shek Sheriff to set off for what would have been the winning try, only for the referee to call him back for a forward pass before blowing for full time.

Henley Colts: Clarke, Waldron, Capstick, Bartlett, Gilbert, Browning, Beech, Folley, Branch, Wiltshire, Lee, Somers, Steiger, Grindey, Hawkins, Sheriff, Murison, Caple, Bowman, Benyon, Borg, Antoniou, Gibbs, Trinder.

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