First game of the season ends in thrilling draw

CURLFC were held to a draw at home to Reading University on Wednesday afternoon. Cambridge’s new players impressed and, despite a very strong second half, Reading were able to grab the equalising points in the dying seconds of the match.

After an encouraging pre-season the Green Lion’s first fixture couldn’t come soon enough. Cambridge’s coach had worked the team hard, and a large influx of players from trials heralded an optimistic mood around the club. Whilst kick-off was scheduled for three o’clock, Reading’s tardiness resulted in the start being delayed by over an hour. It was vital the Green Lions maintained their focus and during this time Cambridge went through their warm up as professionally as could be expected. Once the opposition had arrived both teams entered the pitch full of anticipation and desperate to start the season with a victory. Cambridge, fielding a particularly new line up in order to blood the fresh faces early, looked equally the match of the more experienced Reading side. 

The first ten minutes went like a blur with both sides eager to impress. Neither Cambridge nor Reading was able to execute as efficiently as they would like, but a series of errors led to pressure on the Green Lion’s try-line. Reading managed to fashion a try, and followed this up with a second, rather untidy score. Cambridge quickly retaliated with an excellent carry by loose-forward George Foot, who showed dynamism and a cutting edge lacking in the opening stages of the game. Suddenly the Green Lions were in full attack, and Will Wynell-Mayow scored after a training ground move proved too much for Reading’s defence. Although Cambridge were buoyed by their first try of the season, the away side managed to take advantages of mismatches in the defensive line and broke free to score their third try of the game. 

During half time Cambridge’s coach gave encouraging words to the Green Lions and told them to stick to the game plan after a few errors had cost them. Assuring the team that the conditioning during the off season would pay of, Cambridge were feeling confident going into the second half. After Reading had finished aggressively shouting tired sporting clichés at each other the match could begin again. 

The second half was far more promising than the first as the team started to gel. The new combinations started to work and the home side looked far more cohesive than during the opening forty minutes. The Green Lions looked the better team and after a strong carry by Tom Hughes, hooker Max Burrows span the ball out to Jack Amey who offloaded to Ram Longanathan at centre. Ram broke the incoming tackle and ran a third of the pitch to touch down on his debut appearance for Cambridge. 

The match was now a one-score game, but unfortunately Cambridge were once again undone by a lax defensive structure and Reading’s centre bundled over to score from only five yards out. The Green Lions, however, would not capitulate and attacked with greater aggression then before. After some slick interplay from the backs, Ewan Smith cut inside and scored, rewarding Cambridge for their ambition. Reading’s heads started to drop in the face of continued pressure from the adventurous home side. The quality of Cambridge’s training had clearly paid of and the Green Lion’s were causing Reading all kinds of problems. 

Cambridge were now in full flow and Will Wynell-Mayow got his second try of the match by cutting an angle that left Reading’s defence motionless. The Green Lions took the lead with only ten minutes left to play and just had to hold out until the final whistle. Although Cambridge’s defence had improved greatly since kick off, Reading’s superior possession proved too much for the home side in the dying minutes. After an early kick in Reading’s set Cambridge were caught unawares and struggled to get numbers back. Rather fortuitously Reading scored and just managed to convert, leveling the game 28-28 at the last.

Still, there were plenty of positives to take from the game, both in the way that the team fought back in the second half, and particularly in the performances of the club’s new members. They will be looking to build on that performance away against Essex on 29 October.

John Cormie