Cambridge continue promotion push with dominant display at Tonbridge Juddians in National League One
By Steve Jackson
Cambridge are still in the hunt for promotion from National League One after a comprehensive 59-10 win on the road at Tonbridge Juddians.
The division’s bottom side finished with 14 men and even with 15 never looked likely to trouble Richie Williams’ side after Joe Green dotted down early on.
Green came away with a hat-trick, as did full back Joe Tarrant. Skipper George Bretag-Norris weighed in with his annual touch-down and Darryl Veenendaal added try number eight.
Harry Johnston converted the first three tries before being withdrawn at half time with a dead leg. Replacement Lawrence Rayner added all five second half attempts off the tee and had the final moment of the match with a perfunctory penalty.
Williams was pleased with the application of his side afterwards, on a day in which three of the other sides in the top six all took five points, leaving Cambridge still in fourth spot and needing to win their six remaining matches – with try bonus points – and hoping that Caldy, Rosslyn Park and Sale all slip up.
“All that we can control from here on is our performance and getting five points every week. Sooner or later one of the teams above us is going to slip up, going to lose points. When that happens we’ve still got to make sure we’re getting five points and putting pressure on.
“There’s still a lot to play for. It’s still exciting – it’s been a really good league this season and been really competitive. We’re just happy with the position that we find ourselves in.
“It was slightly different for us today compared to last Saturday’s performance at Darlington. We knew Tonbridge are a team that like to stretch defences and I thought they caused us a lot of problems in the first half, and we only went in 21-3 up. One of our hallmarks this season is our scramble defence and we saw that in abundance before half time. It was really pleasing to limit them to just a penalty goal when we were under so much pressure.
“We hit them with two sucker punches to go in three tries to the good. The message at half-time was just one of ‘remain composed’, and the opportunities will come after four or five phases for our outside backs to score. Joe Green and Joe Tarrant both scored hat-tricks, Darryl Veenendaal juggled the ball over the line and even skipper George Bretag-Norris weighed in with his annual try, which is always encouraging to see.
“Tonbridge, whether it was all legal I don’t know, stopped our driving maul in the first half but we persevered and scored in the second.
“Most pleasing was the variety in our attacking game. And the maturity to win a game like that – a very physical game with a lot of stuff going on off the ball.
“We kept our discipline and kept our players on the pitch which Tonbridge failed to do.”
Cambridge now have a rest weekend before taking on Plymouth Albion at Grantchester Road on Saturday, March 26.