Saxons came away from Cottenham wondering what might have been had they brought their 'A' game to the North Cambridge venue. While the visitors made too many unforced errors, Cottenham used the compact pitch and the weather conditions to their advantage, racking up 54 points to Walden's 21. When the Saxons played the phases, kept the ball in hand and supported the ball carrier, they looked good. However, too often they opted to kick, failed to support the ball carrier and were penalised frequently for offside and holding on.
With a strong breeze blowing the length of the pitch, Saxons had the wind on their backs in the first half but it was the home side who struck first, kicking a penalty in the 10th minute, then scoring a try in the 17th, to take a 8-0 advantage. The visitors then created an opening and a great solo effort by Jake Freeman saw him tripped by the full back on his way to the line. The referee immediately awarded a penalty try and Walden were back in the game. 8-7. The game ebbed and flowed with chances for both sides, until the 40th minute when Cottenham went over for their second score, their forwards combining well to go over by the posts.
From the start of the second half it was clear that the home side were going to use the wind to gain territory and stay there. This they did to great effect, using the driving maul from lineouts to plunder a number of tries. In fact Cottenham scored twice in the first three minutes to extend their lead before scrum half Jake Freeman repeated his first-half feat but this time evaded the full back to score under the posts and then added the extras. 29-14.
A Cottenham penalty kick then went over before sustained Saxons pressure resulted in Monty Garret going over in the right hand corner, which Freeman magically converted from the touchline into the wind. However, from then on it was all Cottenham and the last 15 minutes saw four tries conceded by the Saxons. 54-21.
A tough result to take after last week's win, but to their credit the players were honest in their assessment of how they played and understood where improvements had to be made. They also appreciated the post match beers awaiting them in the changing room, courtesy of our hosts!
MotM: Jake Freeman