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Cambridge keep sights set on strong finish to National League One season

Joe Tarrant in action for Cambridge against Chinnor. Picture: Chris Fell (55162657)
Joe Tarrant in action for Cambridge against Chinnor. Picture: Chris Fell (55162657)

Richie Williams is eyeing a strong run-in as the Cambridge squad seek to finish in the upper echelons of the National League One table.

After the setback of a narrow 9-0 defeat to Caldy, who now top the table, there was a return to winning ways for Cambridge last Saturday as they beat Chinnor 41-3.

Ben Brownlie and Kwaku Asiedu had touched down in the first half, then they cut loose after the break with Brownlie, Matt Dawson, Jake McCloud and Joe Tarrant, twice, getting further tries. Harry Johnston and Tarrant landed conversions, with four of their seven tries coming from open play.

“I think a lot of that performance was fuelled by the week before against Caldy, when we felt that we under performed – we ultimately lost that game and came away pointless,” said director of rugby Williams.

“There was added motivation this week going into the Chinnor game, and the players wanted to give a good account of themselves.

“I think that loss has helped us, it’s brought everybody back to reality. It’s probably reaffirmed that we need to keep working hard and training consistently on a Tuesday and Thursday.

“Fortunately, it all came together against a not bad Chinnor side.

“I think it was important to stress that the loss was just a one-off.

“It was a disappointing loss but I’m really pleased with the way we’ve got things back on track to get the five points to keep the pressure on the teams above us.”

The defeat to Caldy had seen Cambridge lose ground on the top three, with just two points separating Caldy, second-placed Rosslyn Park and third-placed Sale FC.

But Cambridge, who are sixth, are just two points off Rams in fourth, and have a 19-point buffer to seventh.

Ben Brownlie in action for Cambridge against Chinnor. Picture: Chris Fell (55162663)
Ben Brownlie in action for Cambridge against Chinnor. Picture: Chris Fell (55162663)

“We had a bit of an honest chat with the players about what we want to achieve for the remainder of this season, and we spoke a lot around are we happy to settle for a sixth-place finish?” said Williams.

“There is a big gap between us and the seventh place team so I think the easy thing to do would just to carry on as we’re going.

“I think we would finish in sixth place barring a disaster and us losing five or six games between now and the end of the season.

“The players want to see what they can do. They’re capable of finishing higher up the league table, but what’s worked for us this season is just treating each week as it comes.

“We’re in a position now where there’s going to be no external pressure on ourselves.

“We’re sixth in the league and the teams that are first to third there is a bit of a gap now between them and us.

“We will just hopefully keep on winning on Saturdays, keep picking up points and who knows where we will be at the end of April.”

Cambridge have eight matches remaining, and start the final two months of the season away to Darlington Mowden Park this Saturday (March 5).

“If we play like we did on Saturday, what we’re capable of, then there is no reason why we can’t go on another winning run for the last eight games,” added Williams.

“There are 40 league points available, so if we can get close to that 40-point mark then I know that will put us in a really strong position at the end of April.”

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