LONDON LEAGUE THREE NORTH EAST: Cantabrigian 30 Sudbury 5: Sudbury returned to league action again after a two-week break because of the weather and it was not the best of restarts for the Suffolk side.
Still with a depleted side, Graham Richards was limited for choice against one of the best packs in the league, which was to prove Sudbury’s undoing in Cambridge.
Second-placed Cantabs used an effective maul to gain ground from the start and, when Sudbury were caught offside with three minutes on the clock, they opted to kick for the points.
The ball bounced off the inside of the post and that set the pattern of play for the day.
They followed this with a second penalty kick, but Sudbury rallied and were having more success taking play into their opponents’ half.
The home side were prepared to give away penalties rather than risk a defensive breach and Sudbury missed one kick at goal, while they struggled to create a platform for the backs to use their speed with hurried passes fumbled and tactical decisions compromised.
Cantabs scored a try just before the break following good forward work after a lineout inside the 22-metre area, which eventually found a central gap to put up a 13-0 score at half-time.
The second half did not start well for Sudbury when Cantabs kicked for touch and then won the ball on the visitors’ put in.
They rolled the maul forward deep into Sudbury territory and then a man broke free for an easy try after two minutes.
Sudbury defended well, but were facing an uphill struggle against the powerful scrum which was preventing them from developing any set piece play and forcing the inevitable mistakes, resulting in conceded penalties.
Cantabs kicked another penalty, but it was 20 minutes before they were to score another try.
From the restart Cantabs drove up the centre of the park, recycling the ball effectively and the Blues had no answer to prevent another score.
Austin Beckett saved Sudbury’s blushes with a fine run on the half-hour-mark when he and his brother Fraser felled the full-back on the 22-metre line when he tried to run from his own try line.
Sudbury recycled the ball out to the right for Austin Beckett to touch down.
Cantabs played out the last 10 minutes knowing they had secured a bonus-point win.
n A second-half try from Ed Bradbury, converted by Tom Clark, proved enough to give Sudbury Under-18s Colts a victory at Essex Colts League leaders Westcliffe — who were forced to play with 14 players.
Following the 7-5 victory, Sudbury are now top of the league and go into their final match of the campaign a week Sunday, knowing a win over Old Cooperians will give them the title.