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Home > News > Cambridge 29 - Bees 33
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Your News Cambridge 29 - Bees 33
23
SEP

A beautiful day, perfect conditions and a super playing surface greeted players and supporters alike as Cambridge hosted Birmingham & Solihull Bees in what was being billed by some as a ‘marker’ game for the season. That being the case Bees could have sewn up the championship let alone the game had the first 25minutes reflected the whole 80 as the visitors took a 22point lead that simply outclassed the Cambridge outfit.

Tactically and in execution Bees were untouchable following Cambridge fly-half Craig Evans’ unsuccessful initial shot at goal. The forwards focusing on the breakdown secured the quick and indeed quality ball Rod Petty from 9 and in turn Woodrow from 10 needed to unleash their backs, first phase movement in particular proved a delight as the faithful travelling contingent witnessed a devastating series of attacks that not only tore Cambridge’s defence to pieces but finally delivered the level of finishing we all knew the team was capable of.

Right wing Simon Hunt touched down for an incredible first-half hat-trick, with his second in particular a certain contender for try of the season. His first however was courtesy of fullback Reece Spee, the New Zealanders’ final pass unleashing the 15½ stone Hunt to power to the line, deflecting the interests of Cambridge’s last man along the way before touching down for his opening score of the day. Woodrow successfully converting (0-7).

From the re-start Bees were awarded a middle-of-the-park scrum as Evans’ kick-off failed to reach the necessary 10m. Petty, excellent with the boot in the first half controlled territory serenely with a touch-finder that not only served Bees a net gain of 30m but the impetus for their second try. Off the top ball from big Alex Davidson flew left to right with not just pace but precision. On reaching outside centre Scott Young the Belfast man’s inside ball was the difference as his exquisite pass befitted left wing’s Mitch Culpin’s entry into the line. Culpin stood up his last man to give Hunt a blast to the corner (0-12), and although the subsequent touchline conversion attempt from Woodrow sailed wide, amends was made 5minutes later as the Little General slotted a penalty from 35m out (0-15).

With the pressure on Cambridge mounting Evans’ re-start again fell short and with Bees now edging their dominance in the scrums Woodrow turned the home sides’ forwards around yet again with tactical kicking that was applauded by all. With Cambridge opting to throw the ball around in their own 22m in what seemed a brave but perhaps desperate attempt to gain ground Bees Cameron Mitchell rather helped himself for his teams’ third score and the Silhillian’s second in as many games as the lofty 6ft 4” inside centre simply plucked Evans’ pass from the hands of the intended receiver to cantor to the line untouched. From in front of the posts Woodrow couldn’t miss and didn’t to further improve the rampant score-line (0-22).

The Bees final try of the match (sadly!) came directly from Cambridge’s third consecutive re-start, Head Coach and open-side flanker Russell Earnshaw claiming and setting up on his own 10m line and with his forwards working over-time the breakdown was cleared and it became evident very quickly a try was on - Mitchell (who’s height advantage delivers a very satisfying hand-of) released Spee who’s footwork turned his marker inside and out before a lovely switch pass created the space for Hunt to barrel through a drifting defence on the angle – with work still to do a chip and chase sealed his hat-trick score and his remarkable 6th try in three games, which sees him sitting pretty atop the Division’s leading try-scorer’s table (0-27).

At 26minutes into the first half Cambridge finally breached Bees territory a yellow card for lock Ed Orgee creating the opportunity for the home side to gain some advantage – and some advantage it was as they took as 12 point chunk out of Bees 27point lead in a 10minute purple patch that turned the game from a would be white-wash into a nail-biting spectacle (for both sides).

No. 8 Dave Archer personifying his packs’ resilience lead the charge, a powerful touch-down from close range igniting a previously disquieted crowd. With Evans finding his range 5pts became 7 (7-27) which then became 12 as Evans delivered a gem of a miss-pass to release left wing Chris Lombaard for an easy race in (12-27). From a Bees’ perspective No. 8 Jim Jenner demonstrated exceptional commitment to the cause in covering across to restrict Lombaard’s touchdown and therefore Evan’s conversion angle, his resulting effort left Evans with too much to do which saved an otherwise certain two points from what would have been a front and centre attempt. Decisive? You decide.

Woodrow top and tailed the end of the first and start of the second half with two penalties (12-33) which might have been the final nail for lesser teams but in finishing the first forty minutes as they did Cambridge’s confidence was in the ascendancy and with their investments delivering reward soon into the half – former Northampton Saint and Captain Darren Fox from close range again (Evans converting) and a further three points coinciding with second row Alex Davidson’s sin-binning (22-33) – it was very much game-on with 20minutes remaining.

Under sweltering conditions Bees were allowing their grasp to falter, a reduction in open-field accuracy from the boot so clinical in the first half also made its mark. On the back foot but managing Cambridge’s efforts well a subsequent scrum two minutes into injury time gave Cambridge their break through and replacement scrum-half Danny Hunter reason to rejoice as his worthy snipe delivered his side not just a losing bonus point (for finishing within 7) but a deserved four try bonus point. Ben Patston on for Evans converted to bring a halt to the scoring, final score 29-33.

A maximum 5 points for Bees away from home, against serious title contenders is a good return: “the first 20minutes or so were exactly how we wanted to play” commented hat-trick hero Hunt “it’s always nice when you practice set moves all week and they pay-off” and as for the second half? “Cambridge has a big pack and we just got sucked in a little but we’ll take 5 points away from home and be better for the experience.”

May we extend our thanks to Cambridge for a very hospitable afternoon.

The Bees next fixture: away to Mounts Bay 27th September, kick off 3pm | next home fixture: Blaydon 4th October, kick off 3pm.

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