Blues fly high to hammer RAF

Freddie Strachan  - Sports Reporter 12 February 2010

Rugby Union: Blues 29 Royal Air Force 6

On Wednesday the Blues soundly beat the RAF in what was anything but a thrilling game. Cambridge at least provided a snappy start to the dull encounter, scoring two good tries within the first fifteen minutes.

The second of these was particularly notable, touched down by number eight Hayden Henderson after some good work by the forwards, driving the RAF pack backwards over their own line. However, despite the bright start the game never really kicked off, a low tempo predominating throughout.

The reluctance to spin the ball down the line owed largely to conditions that were far from conducive to fast exciting rugby and with the temperature plummeting below zero and with snow starting to fall, the greasy ball was being constantly dropped by players with numb fingers. The first half was therefore very loose with much possession being kicked away by both sides.

Thankfully, there were however one or two moments amongst the drudgery when Cambridge reminded the RAF of the talent that they do possess. On the half hour mark Henderson went over for his second try after Dave Riley had devastated the RAF defence, taking advantage of the sluggish pace of the RAF backs to cut through in what was a superb solo effort, before drawing the last defender to put his team mate in under the posts.

The RAF simply did not turn up for this game, their forwards allowing themselves to be thoroughly outmuscled by the Blues pack whilst their backs looking as if they were in need of a serious boost: Viagra perhaps, as they made all desperate effort but managed no penetration.

In the second-half, the game picked up slightly, Cambridge again showing on occasion what they are capable of with a brilliant drive from the forwards inside the Blues own half from a lineout.

Having drawn in the RAF defence, the Cambridge backs were able to work the ball past the last defenders, putting Illia Cherezov in under the posts. This try woke the Blues up a little, and realising that the RAF backs were not up for much, the Blues backline began to express themselves with wingers Rob Steven, Cherezov and full-back Riley in particular making some strong and incisive runs, punishing the loose ball fed to them by poor RAF kicking.

However, the Blues could have easily run in at least two more tries had replacement Will Balfour no dropped the ball over the opposition line and if fly half Fred Burdon had noticed a huge Cambridge overlap rather than trying to go it alone with a touch of white line fever.

In the end the referee abandoned the match on the hour mark as the pitch was becoming increasingly frozen.

The Blues should be happy with such an impressive win considering many of the team were playing at the highest university level for the first time, and considering that at times their play appeared limited. However, they successfully took advantage of the RAF’s weak wide defence and punished their lacklustre kicking game, whist not allowing the RAF to cross the try line themselves.

Cambridge successfully ensured a victory therefore on the coldest of nights, and shall look to continue their winning ways in the last two games of the season.

Freddie Strachan  РSports Reporter