Report by Steve Jackson

Cambridge finally pulled off their first home win since promotion to the Championship with an exceptional second half performance that prevented Caldy from scoring and racked up a try bonus point in the process.

Richie Williams was elated with his team’s maiden home victory. He said

“I’m delighted. A bit of history has been made today. It’s taken longer than we would have liked but the players have worked really hard. We said after we’d won that London Scottish game we felt we’d turned a massive corner and become acclimatised. We trained well in the week and were able to transfer that onto the pitch. We’re really pleased to get that five points”.

The Blood & Sand opened the scoring through Bath loan back row Nehum Merigan, who burrowed over in the far corner after a break from Sam Hanks. The centre fed Kwaku Asiedu, the ball found its way to Merigan, and the die was cast for an entertaining afternoon at Grantchester Road with a minute on the clock.

An early yellow card for the hosts meant scrum half Kieran Duffin spent 10 minutes in the bin for a technical offence. Caldy took advantage and scored through prop Adam Aigbokhae, duly converted by Matt Kilcourse to take the lead for the first time.

Then a fabulous flowing move from Cambridge saw Joey Green feed Eli Caven who sped over from distance for his 8th try of the season. Stef James added the extras.

Four minutes before the break, Oli Hearn strolled in untroubled to regain the lead for Caldy, and Kilcourse knocked over two more points for a 12-14 half time lead.

Williams side visibly upped their game in the second forty. Sam Hanks ran in from 40 metres for their third try of the afternoon to retake the lead. And two tries from driving mauls for replacement hooker Morgan Veness, all three scores converted by James, made the game safe for the Blood & Sand.

In between those moments, Kieran Frost was imperious – his commitment illustrated by a yellow card for an altercation with Martin Gerrard, who was also sent to the bin – and, as further changes were wrung, a wrecking-ball cameo from Antony Maka also had the crowd on their feet.

Caldy coach Matt Cairns wasn’t happy with his side’s efforts. He said

“We went in with a lead at half but we felt we were at 60 per cent and were pretty disappointed with how it had gone. Second half, we made a few errors and gave a few penalties away and fell off at the end for the second week in a row which was pretty disappointing”.

Catch up on all the game action by watching the highlights below:

Teams

Cambridge
Caven 7, Asiedu 7 , Hanks 7, Benson 7, Green 7, James 7 (Williams 77 6), Duffin 7 (Gelderbloom 77 6); Ellwood 7 (Owen 60 7), Brownlie 7 (Veness 60 8), Walker 7 ( Collins 60 7), Frost 8, Baxter 7(Cardew 66 7), Bretag-Norris 7, B Hoppe 7 (Adams 46 7), Merigan 7 (Maka 69 7)

Caldy
Kilcourse 6, Royle 6, Wilkinson, Barlow 6 (Cartmill 60 6), Robinson, Hayes 6 (Hayes 69 6), Pilgrim 6 (Murray 69 6); Aigbokhae 6 (Higginson 60 6), Hearn 6 (Gallagher 51 6), Rushton 6 (Weatherby 51 6), Gerrard 6 (Cox 66 6), Sanders, Ridgway 6 (Olyott 57 6), Booth 6, Dickinson 7

Scorers

Cambridge
Tries – Merigan 1, Caven 30, Hanks 45, Veness 67, 76
Conversions – James 31, 46, 68, 77

Caldy
Tries – Aigbokhae 18, Hearn, 36
Conversions – 19, 37

Scores:
HT 12-14
FT 33-14

Key Stats:
Attendance 1199
Referee George Selwood
STAR MAN – Kieran Frost (Cambridge)
Scrums Won Cambridge 3 Caldy 1
Scrums Lost Cambridge 0 Caldy 1
Line Outs Won Cambridge 10 Caldy 8
Line Outs Lost Cambridge 1 Caldy 4
Penalties against Cambridge 11 Caldy 13
YCs Cambridge 2 Caldy 1