Sudbury maintain London 2 promotion push with narrow 15-13 win over Cantabrigians
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Sudbury kept their promotion hopes alive with a hard-fought win against Cantabs, while some unexpected results elsewhere in the league helped the west Suffolk side’s cause.
Sudbury kicked off down the slope and, with the help of a stiff breeze, the visitors returned it and caught the home team offside.
With the best front row in the league, Cantabs won a scrum easily, but eventually lost possession and the Sudbury backs put the ball across the park to Harry Maile who sprinted 75 metres to score after 10 minutes of play.
Although Cantabs were enjoying territorial advantage, Sudbury were able to make some penetrating breaks and Frazer Beckett and Chris Whybrow combined to get the action into the visitors’ 22. They were awarded a penalty for their efforts, and Tom Summers made no mistake to give Sudbury an 8-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Cantabs replied with a penalty from Denham when Sudbury were caught offside.
The closely-contested game had been littered with penalties at the breakdowns and Summers again kicked Sudbury down to the 22.
From the line-out, Sudbury worked the ball back and Shaun Smith broke down the right but was taken into touch on the five-metre line with a high tackle. The referee had no hesitation and marched under the posts for a penalty try – a crucial decision for the result.
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Sam Conning did not reappear at the start of the second half so Francois Botha took over the front row duties. Will Ponty replaced Dan Taylor shortly after and, with 10 minutes played, Cantabs lost a man to the bin for a shoulder charge.
Sudbury were competing well at the line-out but were still only just surviving at the scrums with Henry Cowling, doing a good job, often picking up from number 8 with the scrum going backwards.
The penalty count was high for both teams, due to the fierce competition for the ball at the breakdowns, and Cantabs scored from a penalty line-out.
Then, Cantabs’ rolling maul trundled over in the right corner for a converted try to close the gap to five points.
The breeze prevented Sudbury clearing their lines by holding the ball up in the second half and Cantabs pressurised the hosts for the last quarter of the game.
However, the Sudbury defence was again superb, although a penalty with a few minutes to go brought Cantabs to within two points. They then also opted to run a penalty which, had they have been successful with, would have given them the result.
Instead, Sudbury held on for another crucial victory.