Cambridge need for wins increases as battle to avoid National League One relegation heats up
Richie Williams has admitted that the pressure is building on Cambridge to start picking up wins to pull clear of the National League One drop zone.
They headed into the home match with Rotherham last Saturday looking to banish memories of their defeat to Bishop’s Stortford, and it started promisingly.
Tries from Joe Green, Mike Ayrton and Louis Rawlings helped them lead 17-7 after 23 minutes, but they could not get a fourth try – for a bonus point – and ended up losing 24-20.
Combined with victory for Birmingham Moseley, it means Cambridge are just one point above the relegation zone.
“In all honesty, we looked at the game being at home as well as one that we really needed to get four or five points out of,” said head coach Williams.
“It started really well, we got those three early tries and then didn’t get much for the rest of the game, so that is disappointing.
“We’ve got five games left, no game next Saturday and then we travel to Old Elthamians who are a very good side and a very accomplished team.
“I think it’s one of those where there is no expectation for us to go there and win but for us that’s probably a good position to be in.
“I think those occasions this season we have responded really well and it’s getting really tight at the bottom now with other teams around us picking up wins and we need to do that sooner rather than later.”
Williams was pleased with the way Cambridge began against Rotherham in response to the defeat at Stortford, but was at a loss to explain what went wrong.
“We started the game really well, we attacked far better than we did against Bishop’s Stortford,” he said.
“I think we could have scored more points than we did in the first half and that made it difficult playing into the wind in the second half.
“I’m massively disappointed. Our effort was far better than against Bishop’s Stortford, which we asked our players to do, but ultimately we’ve come out second best.
“I think it’s a mixture of inaccuracy in attack – we got ourselves in good positions and then forced a pass and lost possession, giving them easy ball. And credit to their defence in the end.
“There was a lot of energy in that first 20 minutes, the second 20 minutes we probably fell off a little bit, and it was the same trend in the second half.
“The last 15 minutes where we had to score a try we had the intent and energy back in our game as before that I thought we were second best in that area, and that was the disappointing thing.”
Cambridge’s next game is away to second-placed Old Elthamians on March 23.