Player of the Season results

The End of Season Dinner and Player Awards took place at Volac Park last night.

 

So, today I announce the results of my own fan poll for Player of the Season.

A very close one, and the results are as follows:

1st              Steve Hipwell             26.92% of the vote
=2nd         Ean Griffiths               23.08%
=2nd         Albert Portsmouth   23.08%

So, well done to all, but a special congratulations here to Steve Hipwell for a great season and being the first Fanzone Player of the Season.

A Word With Rowland Winter

I spoke yesterday with Cambridge Director of Rugby, Rowland Winter, to get his views on the season that’s just passed.  I also ask about the End of Season Dinner and Player Awards and about preparations in place for next season.  Listen to the interview below………

 

Taunton vs Cambridge

Cambridge just came up short in the last game of the season against Taunton, as they lost by 30-20.

Taunton are a top side, and Cambridge can be proud even in defeat, after putting in a solid performance.

Director of Rugby, Rowland Winter was proud of his side’s efforts.  Read what he had to say here….    http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Rowland-Winter-takes-heart-Cambridge-performance/story-26392750-detail/story.html

And, the players were not going to let the result dampen their end of season celebrations and send-offs for the departing Craig Newby (to Japan) and Matt Goode (Banbury).

Cambridge vs Canterbury

The last home game of the season, and unfortunately a game that I couldn’t make, and what a game to miss!

An absolute try-fest as Cambridge beat Canterbury by 56-49!  Jack Green even scored his first try for the club!

Read the Cambridge News Report here…

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge-56-Canterbury-49-feast-running-rugby/story-26357639-detail/story.html

Old Elthamians vs Cambridge

A frustrating afternoon for a below par Cambridge team, saw their winning streak come to an end away against Old Elthamians.

Cambridge had won six in a row before Old Elthamains narrowly inflicted a 27-26 defeat on them in a last-kick decider.

Cambridge seemed to be off the pace from the start, as they repeatedly lost their discipline at the breakdown, and this lead to Elthamians number ten Tom White, kicking the opening nine points from penalties.

Old Elthamians then showed they can also run the ball, as they managed to touch down following a nice move out to the right and a little chip over the fullback for the opening try of the game, and they had earned an early 16-0 lead.

Old Elthamians were in full control of the contest at this stage, but then a moment of madness from Tom White. He deliberately knocked-on and earned himself a yellow card, which White verbally disputed. Almost immediately, the referee put the yellow back in his pocket and pulled out the red one instead for dissent, clearly having heard something he didn’t approve of.

This gave Cambridge the bit of encouragement that they were desperately needing, now knowing they would play almost an hour with an extra man.

It took them to just before halftime to make it count though, when the familiar sight of Steve Hipwell crashing through tackles broke the line, before he offloaded to Matt Howling running a good support line to put the away side on the board. The halftime whistle followed James Stokes’ conversion and the score was 16-7.

Cambridge started the second half struggling to gain any control in the set-pieces, as they faltered in the scrum and at the line-outs.

The home side took full advantage as they slotted another penalty, before scoring their second try and making the scoreboard a disappointing one for the Blood and Sand at 24-7.

But, something sparked Cambridge into life, though it seemed it may be a case of too little, too late. A superb try from substitute Jim Wigglesworth made the score look more respectable, before a brilliant solo try from Captain Stef Liebenberg gave them genuine hope at 24-19.
Wigglesworth’s try was all about the winger’s pure speed, but Scrum-half Liebenberg’s, was all about craft. He picked the ball up at the back of the ruck, before cutting inside the defensive line with a little show and go. He was now one-on-one with their full-back, but sold him a perfect dummy before crossing the line.

With five minutes left, Cambridge then broke again, and Matt Howling grabbed his second try of the day courtesy of a sweeping move through the hands. Remarkably, it now seemed certain that they would leave with an unlikely victory, as Wigglesworth converted to make it 24-26.
With only a few minutes left though, Cambridge once again gave away a penalty following a set piece, and Old Elthamains regained the lead by 27-26.

However, Cambridge won the ball back quickly from the restart and began to recycle the ball well. Old Elthamians, still a man light, couldn’t cope with the pressure and gave away a penalty from just in front of the ten metre line. But, Wigglesworth’s kick skewed right of the posts, and the whistle went.

 

 

On the balance of it, Cambridge probably didn’t deserve to win this one, but will nevertheless be disappointed to have lost after putting themselves into a winning position.

They will look forward though to their last home fixture against Canterbury next Saturday, as they hope to put on a better showing for the Volac Park faithful than here at Old Elthamians.

Player Of The Season – have your say!

Ayrton Brothers Profile

James and Mike Ayrton, besides playing for Cambridge, they work in insurance and brokering. So, if you’re looking for financial advice, or need any legal papers drawing up, these are your guys.

Mike_AyrtonJames_Ayrton

Mike Ayrton (left)            James Ayrton (right)

But, their first love is rugby. Younger brother James, 21, earned his 50th cap in the last-minute home victory over Southend. He has been an important member of the squad for the past few seasons, and was voted Players’ Player of the Season last year, which shows just how much his teammates value his contribution.

Mike, has been with Cambridge for five years now, though has spent most of this season as a spectator because of a knee injury. However, Mike, 23, is now back in training and hopes to add to his 109 caps before this season is finished.

He said: “The injury has been frustrating for me, but I’ll be playing regularly again before long. We’re all looking forward to a promotion charge next season, and I can’t wait to play a part in that.”

Mike has been a constant voice of support from the side-lines, and today, his voice will be booming through the speakers, as he makes the announcements cheering on the Blood and Sand.

“In our last few games, we have proven how good we can be”.

Both brothers came through the Saracens academy, but were both released at the age of 18. They both then signed almost immediately for Cambridge, albeit two years apart, and neither has looked back since.

James said: “We’ve both signed on again for next season and the hopes are high. I’d be surprised if anyone wanted to leave the club now. It’s had its financial difficulties in the past, but it’s a great place to be, and the supporters are the friendliest you’re going to get.”

However, the brothers were quick to praise one man who is leaving Volac Park, head coach Craig Newby. Craig is joining leading Japanese club NEC Green Rockets to become their forwards coach.

They said: “Craig has been a great coach and has helped us to have one of the best defences in the league. Of course we’re sorry to see him go, but we all wish him the best of luck because he’s a really nice guy and a genuinely brilliant coach”.

Reminiscing on this season, James said: “I don’t think it’s been a bad season all-in-all. We started slowly, and it would have been easy to throw the towel in, but the lads are determined and the coaches motivated us well.  In our last few games, we have proven how good we can be, and we see these last few games as another stepping stone going into next year, but we still want to finish as high as possible this season, second is still mathematically possible”.

Clifton are the visitors today, and they narrowly won a tight, low scoring battle earlier in the season. James said: “We know what Clifton are going to bring here. They will be very physical and we will have to combat that. But, if we play the sort of rugby we’ve been playing lately, then I don’t think they’ll be able to handle that”.

Let’s hope this is the case, and the Volac Park faithful can listen to Mike over the tannoy this afternoon, celebrating a sixth win in a row for the Blood and Sand.