Blues Prove Too Sharp for Spoon AAs

RUGBY: New captain Rob Malaney gets a win in his first game in charge against a far-from-blunt Spoons invitational side.

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After several weeks of cancellations due to frozen pitches, the Blues finally restarted their season with a deserved win over Spoon AAs, an invitational side from the northern counties.

Cambridge got off to the best possible start, securing a scrum from kickoff. From a solid base, the backline showed clinical precision as flyhalf Steve Townend and centre Hugo Amos combined, breaking through the scrappy Spoon defence before Andy Murdoch finished in the corner. Townend added the extras in what looked like the beginnings of a walkover.

But the visitors boasted a rapid back three, and counter attacks in open play forced the Blues to camp in their own 22 for much of the first half. Despite these constant periods of pressure, the hosts did not tire in defence, and Rob Malaney managed to notch up four or five turnovers in the first 30 minutes, before limping off injured on the verge of half time in his first game as skipper.

The Blues kept up their attacking prowess when in possession, but failed to capitalise on their chances until late in the half. The ball was spread quickly from a ruck through the backs to fullback Rob Stephen, who touched down to bring the hosts two tries ahead. Stephen continued to flaunt his skills in open play, this time through his accuracy with the boot. Bobby Stevens and Malaney’s replacement Tommy Palacios also put in some notable kicking performances to relieve pressure.

The second half was played at pace, punctuated with line breaks from both sides. Fresh legs came on in the form of Kieran Hegarty, who put in some crunching tackles from the off, and Kiran Vora, whose precision passing was invaluable. Paul Loudon was substituted late in the second half for Seb Foster, who made an immediate impact in a Brian Lima-esque defensive performance.

Soon enough, the backline ignited again, with Murdoch making a break down the right touchline and selling an outrageous dummy to the Spoon’s fullback. He was caught just short of the line, but soon after the Blues mounted another attack, this time Foster running a dummy line to stretch the Spoon’s backline open, and Paul Loudon running over for their third score.

Cambridge began to tire though, and Spoon AAs exploited this late in the second half. A huge overlap on the halfway line allowed the visitor’s left wing to score, and not long after their number 8 found himself on the end of some nice offload play to touch down under the posts. The comeback was too little too late though, and Blues finished ahead 19-14.

With a mix of youth and experience in the team, Cambridge look like they have a solid foundation to build on. Hopefully this win will pave the way to a victory against the other place in December.