Cuffley 1st 55 5 Hitchin 2nd's
HMMT 3, Round 15
Cuffley first team back in league action having had two games postponed due to weather welcomed Hitchin to Botany Bay. Cuffley had more than a few changes within the squad with two players on first team debate and some playing out of position.
The game started with Cuffley playing with the conditions and the slope, forcing Hitchin to give their first of many penalties throughout the game, Michael Stevens stepped up to take an easy 3 points. Cuffley settled into their game and started to dominate Hitchin in every area of the game, Scrum time was particularly embarrassing for Hitchin as they lost the first 6 scrums against the head with James Biff Butt on first team debut supported by Marc Bright and Michael Lavene striking every ball to the Cuffley side. Added to this his lineout was strong and he put himself about in open play.
Cuffley scored the first of their 7 tries with Will Payne cutting a great line from a short pass to crash under the posts for a 7 pointer. From this point in the game Cuffley were literally on fire scoring 3 more tries, Sam Ranner and Michael Stevens linked all afternoon and repeated a score from a previous game with Ranner sniping, he held the defence and released Michael into an opening 30 meters out, with Michael taking the ball at pace stepped his way through to score a fine try, another 7 pointer.
Will went over for his second, Michael added the 2 points then another penalty, Cuffley finished the half totally on top and with the pack driving just outside the 22, Ranner linked up with Chilli for the referees favourite score, with a pinpoint chip over the ruck into the large in goal area Chilli timed his run to touch down for a great score, again Michael added the 2 with his best conversion of the day.
Half Time - Cuffley 37 v 0 Hitchin
Cuffley now took the opportunity to blood a new winger; Tom came off replaced by 17 year old Ben Taylor. Joe Garratt replaced Nick Hislop playing his first league game for 4 years and proving he is still a quality player. Now playing against the elements Hitchin finally started to get into the game, Cuffley's intensity dropped slightly giving Hitchin the opportunity to score their only try. Another change for Cuffley when Marc Bright was replaced by veteran prop and Coach Graham Payne.
Cuffley now started to take control again, the plan to keep ball in hand against the bitter strong wind started to pay dividends. Chilli had an early birthday present with a blatant knock on missed by the ref allowed him to storm over in the corner, Matt Deamer ghosted over for a 7 pointer, Michael Stevens kicked 2 more penalties. Cuffley finished the game with a fine try for Ben Taylor showing real pace to score from 50 meters out.
Final Score Cuffley 55 Hitchin 5
This was a brilliant result against a team that we stunned into submission by playing as a team from the start. As I mentioned the front row were unplayable at times with Biff having a dream debut, Spence with his well-documented Olympic standard lung capacity was everywhere and Peter Rose had his best game for club since his comeback, our back row worked tirelessly to keep Hitchin on the back foot and giving Ranner the type of ball backs dream of.
Ranner had a great game his decision making is getting better with every game he plays.
Michael playing with endless quality ball was always in control, he ripped their defence apart time and again, with Matt Jones and Will Payne in the midfield together for the first time were solid and positive, our back 3 used the ball well and all scored tries.
Cuffley scored 7 tries all by their backs proving our game of playing open fast rugby is showing dividends, considering the conditions our all-around performance was out of the top draw.
Man of the Match was shared 3 ways by James Buff Butt, Peter Rose & Matt Jones.
Dick of the Day again shared by Michael Stevens & Tom Webb.