Tracey Baxter and Ian Whitby Profile

First Team Manager Tracey Baxter believes he may be throwing the club into chaos in the near future.  This is because he will be missing the first few fixtures at the start of next season, as he will be the Team Liaison Officer for Argentina during the upcoming World Cup in September and October (depending on how far the Argies go in the tournament).

“Who will keep the boys in-check while I’m away.  Ian Whitby will take over my role in my absence, but he’s more of the good cop and I’m the bad, and I fear the players may take advantage of him!  But, on the other hand, if he copes well I may not have a job when I come back!”

Tracey Baxter
Tracey Baxter

Ian, Cambridge’s Kit Manager, replied by saying: “No need to worry.  We’ve coped without you in the past, plus, there were lots before you and there will be plenty after, so no panic!”

Tracey has been part of the club since 1985, when he joined as a player, as a second or back row forward.  When he finished playing, he took on the role of coaching the youth and colts, before also combining this with coaching the County and Eastern Counties age grade sides.  Then, more recently as one of two coaches working with the Cambridge Development squad.

  • From 1985 to 2000, Tracey and Ian made over 350 appearances for the club, scoring 25 tries between them.

Nowadays though, their glamour has faded somewhat, but the roles they play within the club are still extremely valuable, and their faces are ever-present wherever the team goes.  Tracey’s duties include organising the travel and food amongst others, but probably most difficult of all is keeping tabs on the players!

He says: “The playing standard here has certainly risen since I played, but the players themselves are needier than ever! Players want certain things at certain times: Greeny ‘needs’ his wrist tape, Jim Wigglesworth always ‘needs’ a guzzle of Lucozade before going out, yet he can never find the bottle, even though they’re always in exactly the same place!  Wolfie likes to cuddle a water bottle throughout the warm-up and always manages to lose it.  The list goes on, but their hearts are in the right place!”

“Wolfie likes to cuddle…”

Ian’s job is that of kit man, and having seen some of the mud-baths we’ve been involved with recently, a job I do not envy.  He must cringe when the team has to come in at half-time and change kits because they’re caked in mud!  Double the amount to wash!

Ian_Whitby
Ian Whitby

But, his duties don’t end there, and as Tracey knows all too well, the players can often be the biggest burden on the job.  Ian says: “I get all the kit ready to go on Thursday night.  I often get calls or e-mails on Friday night, sometimes when they should really be in bed already!  Some say “Have you seen my gum shield?” or “did I leave my boots at training”, Wolfie is one of the main culprits!  Some players are just a bit spoilt, our club captain Stef for example, he wants everything set out just right for him, but we just have to try to keep them happy!”.

Sometimes though it’s not just the players.  Ian says: “Rowland Winter can be a real pain at times!  He has a knack of wanting something at the last minute.  We have to second guess him sometimes and say yep, we’ve packed that already.  I’d say we only use about a tenth of the gear we take away with us on a Saturday!

“Rowland Winter can be a real pain!” 

To read the full article and much more at http://www.crufc.co.uk

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Cambridge vs Southend Saxons 21/2/2015

Cambridge once again left it late, very late, this time to get the victory by 26-19, over a battling Southend side.

Like last week in Lydney, Cambridge seemed in control in the opening stages, as they put three well-worked tries on the board. Tom Ellis, Martin Wolfenden and Pete Kolakowski all touched over the whitewash to give the home side an early advantage of 19-3.

Cambridge then seemed to get themselves dragged into a battle they could have avoided. Southend had a strong pack as always, and largely dominated in the scrums.

The visitors managed to march their way up the pitch, and Cambridge gave away a few sloppy penalties to give them hope at the break, as they came off with the score at 19-9.

The second half started in much the same vein. Southend showed the desire in trying to escape the relegation zone, and fought themselves over the line twice in quick succession. Fortunately for Cambridge, both conversions were wide of the mark to leave the scores level at 19-19.

The introduction of Ben Penfold and Mike Gillick to the back line certainly got Cambridge playing in a more attacking style once again. Chances came and went, but with only a few minutes left on the clock, they won a penalty just on a slight angle on the 22. As soon as Penfold struck the ball, he let out a shout of annoyance, and everyone in the ground knew it had missed.

It seemed as if that would be that, a disappointing draw. But, with one last effort, Cambridge swept the ball out to the right. Gillick drew the defenders in, before offloading to James Ayrton, who was winning his 50th cap for the Blood and Sand. Ayrton coaxed in another Southend defender, before popping the ball to Corey Hircock, who had a clear run under the posts.

An incredible finish. Cambridge have entertained their home fans more than most with late drama this season, and this one was certainly dramatic. With the last strike of the game, Penfold kicked the extras over to send Southend home with their tails between their legs, thinking of what could have been, as they left Cambridge out on the pitch to celebrate another miraculous five points as the game finished 26-19.

Cambridge have now won 11 of their last 16, and will be hoping to keep the pressure firmly on those above them in a fortnight’s time, when they make the tough trip down to Launceston.

Some video highlights of the match, plus some behind the scenes stuff will follow soon.

For any more news on CRUFC, please visit their website www.crufc.co.uk