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Cambridge keep pressure on National League One top spot after win over Taunton Titans

Richie Williams believes Cambridge are a year ahead of expectations despite being in the running for promotion in National League One.

A six-try salvo saw them beat Taunton Titans 38-24 with the bonus points and, with Rosslyn Park being defeated at Chinnor, it moved them up to third in the table, nine points behind leaders Caldy with a game in hand.

Jake McCloud and Ben Brownlie got two tries each and Will Wand and Andrew Henderson got one each for Cambridge against the Somerset side, while Harry Johnston landed four conversions.

“It was a potential banana skin in the fact that we’d struggled against them before Christmas,” said Cambridge director of rugby Williams.

“We drew 25-25 when we played them at the beginning of December and I think looking at some of their recent results, they're quite a free-flowing side.

“They are scoring a lot of points at the moment so we were aware of that, and I think the game didn’t go how we wanted it to in the first half.

“We had to reshuffle our backline as we picked up a few injuries during the game but on reflection we’re really pleased to come away with a bonus-point win again.”

The league table is virtually divided in three, with Cambridge alongside Caldy, Sale and Rosslyn Park the four vying at the top.

Matt Dawson in action for Cambridge against Taunton Titans. Picture: Chris Fell (56012550)
Matt Dawson in action for Cambridge against Taunton Titans. Picture: Chris Fell (56012550)

Park’s 55-17 defeat at Chinnor sees them 13 points off top spot now, while Sale are seven behind Caldy and two ahead of Cambridge, with both having a game in hand of Caldy.

“Sale travel to Caldy a week Saturday so it may come down to the winner of that game,” said Williams.

“I think realistically it’s between Caldy and Sale. We’re going to have to pick up 15 points and rely on other results going in our favour.

“I think whatever happens between now and the end of the season we’re probably a year ahead of where anyone would have imagined us being, particularly looking at the slow start to the season we made.

“We’re really happy with what we’ve achieved this season so far. If we can win our last three games then we will be over that 100-point mark which I don’t think we’ve done for a long time in National One, if ever.

“That is a pretty sizeable achievement. We will do what we need to do and then we will see what happens.”

Will Wand in action for Cambridge against Taunton Titans. Picture: Chris Fell (56012546)
Will Wand in action for Cambridge against Taunton Titans. Picture: Chris Fell (56012546)

Since defeat at Caldy in February, Cambridge have won their last six games, securing a bonus point in all of those victories.

They face a difficult game away at Rosslyn Park this Saturday (April 16), followed by hosting Bishop’s Stortford and a trip to Rams on the last day of the campaign.

“We’ve done all that we can do, and we’re very much reliant now on teams around us dropping points between now and the end of April,” said Williams.

“Out of the top three teams, we’ve probably got the most challenging run-in to the end of the season, but in saying that we’ve got some good momentum at the moment.

“We’re coming off the back of some good performances, so who knows what will happen.

“We’ve not put any pressure on the players over the last couple of months. They’re enjoying themselves, they’re in a good bit of form at the moment and it will be the same this week.”

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