THREE NORTH EAST
Sudbury 26 Cantabrigian 8 by Ken Watkins at Whittome Field
Sudbury’s final home game of the year brought a well-deserved and encouraging victory, the large crowd witnessing an entertaining display.
They dominated the first half, scoring three good tries as they raced to a 20-3 interval lead, and then weathered some spells of fierce pressure as Cantabs inevitably battled back in the second half.
But the visitors, enjoying a successful season, were able only to breach Sudbury’s defence once, late on.
Sudbury responded by simply shrugging it off, and taking the game back down the other end for the closing minutes to secure a victory that lifted them out of the relegation zone.
Coach Graham Richards has been encouraging a positive approach since the start of the season, a policy Sudbury demonstrated in fine style in the first half, handling and recycling well, switching play, and looking as if they were set to run Cantabs ragged.
The platform was laid by good forward work, Sudbury’s pack more than holding their own against what was considered a much stronger eight.
Sudbury gave away some unnecessary penalties in dangerous positions in the first half, but got away with it as Cantabs missed a couple of simple ones.
If Sudbury’s 13-3 lead had been cut to 13-9, we might have seen a different game, but a more-disciplined second half meant very few scraps for the visitors.
Shaun Smith gave Sudbury a seventh-minute lead after Sudbury had won possession following a Cantabs’ scrum and moved the ball swiftly through the backs. Tom Summers’ conversion fell just short.
Cantabs replied with a penalty after 11 minutes, Summers responding with one of his own two minutes later.
Another two minutes and a fine individual try by Nick Robinson, breaking at speed from deep in his own half, saw Sudbury 13-3 ahead.
Cantabs were off target with two kickable penalties before Joe Birmingham scored from close range after forward pressure in the 27th minute. Summers landed the conversion.
The second half was much closer, with Cantabs enjoying a greater share of possession and territory.
But Summers extended the lead with a 71st-minute penalty before Cantabs grabbed a try with seven minutes left.
In injury time, Summers was off target with a penalty, but when Cantabs were penalised again at the restart he made no mistake.