DMPRFC never really got going at the Volac Park HQ of Cambridge RFC, who with their National League One survival to play for, thoroughly deserved their victory and the 5-league points spoils.
With fly-half and playmaker Warren SEALS injured in the warm up and scrum half Matt DUDMAN injured and withdrawn after only 20 minutes, the visitors were unable to adjust to the disruption and didn’t play well at all. The loss of SEALS warranted a drastic shake-up, with Canadian International flanker Matt HEATON finding himself in the uncustomary left wing berth, with replacement George STOKES starting the game and who went on to have an excellent game, despite leaving the game after 54 minutes, then returning 10 minutes later to continue where he left off. DMPRFC also lost two players to the sin bin after oranges; winger Callum Mackenzie and flanker Dave FISHER which added to the visitor’s woes and hampered any chance of a recovery.
So with reasons and excuses now taking a back seat, so to yesterday’s game.
After a bright start by DMPRFC during which Cambridge were forced to defend, it was the home side who sparked the electronic scoreboard into life, when against the run of play, home hooker and Cambridge RFC’s Man-of-the-Match, hooker Alex RAYMENT who started and finished off an excellent first foray into the visitor’s territory, barging his way through flailing defenders to score his side’s first points, (5 – 0) with the added [points from the boot of fly half Ben PENFOLD, who would go on to have a superb game for his side with the boot. (7 – 0)
DMPRFC picked up where they’d left off, attacking the home line and were rewarded 4 minutes later, when hooker Jordan POOLE barged his was over from a close range lineout, (7 – 5) the dependable Garry LAW converting to level. (7 – 7)
With a Cambridge defender not releasing in the tackle, Garry LAW slotted the resulting penalty, to put DMPRFC ahead for the first and what was to be the only time in the match. (7 – 10)
Just before the break, Cambridge added the decisive points, when first flanker Gillian BENOY galloped into the corner, (12 – 10) with PENFOLD converting from wide out. (14 – 10) This was quickly followed with DMPRFC conceding a penalty 40-metres out and PENFOLD slotting the kick with the confidence of his team being in the ascendancy at oranges. (17 – 10)
On resumption on play, DMPRFC quite simply couldn’t get going, didn’t really get a break and when in that situation, sometimes it’s just one of those games to forget.
The visitors did have their fair share of possession, but too many unforced errors near the re-zone put pay to scoring opportunities, with overthrown lineouts and simple mistakes out of frustration ultimately responsible for Cambridge weathering any sort of storm. Having said that, the Cambridge defence to a man, realising the significance of a win, stood up to their task and repelled any potential opportunities.
Cambridge made their own luck, but did receive their fair share of good fortune in their next two tries, with a blatant forward pass in the build up to the first and a controversial touchdown awarded after consultation between the referee and his assistant after a suspect grounding.
However, both, one from scrum half Fin CREIGHTON, the other from winger Michael AYRTON got the green light and with one being converted by the trusty PENFOLD, it just wasn’t DMPRFC’s day. (29 – 10)
A late consolation and unconverted try for Garry LAW just about summed up DMPRFC’s performance, with Cambridge, as stated previously thoroughly deserving their 5-point haul in their efforts to maintain their league status.