Cambridge put theory into practice to beat Bishop's Stortford
Lawrence Rayner boots hosts to late victory
George Bretag-Norris felt Cambridge’s powers of recovery were a credit to the character of the squad as they earned a 23-22 win over Bishop’s Stortford in National League One.
The hosts were leading 21-15 thanks to tries from Kwaku Asiedu, Sam Yawayaw and Jake McCloud with minutes remaining, but Stortford broke up the other end to grab a converted try through Sam Winter.
It was a scenario that was reminiscent of Cambridge’s 27-22 defeat to Caldy in their previous home game, but this time there was a different outcome.
A period of controlled play going through the phases followed, and the patience paid off as Cambridge drew a penalty in the 22 which Lawrence Rayner converted for victory and to take his personal points haul to eight.
“We’ve only been losing games by such small margins and it’s something we’re trying to fix,” said Bretag-Norris, the sponsors’ man of the match.
“We constantly talk about making the right decisions when we’re in those situations, like being five points up, and it’s something we’re working on and getting better at.
“We’re not quite there yet as you can see from a game like that, where we go from their 22 to them scoring to go ahead.
“I think it does show a bit about the character of the squad to go into over time, essentially, to then work it into their 22, draw a penalty in front of the sticks and then win.”
The outcome was a sign of growing leadership at the club, especially in the absence of injured duo Ean Griffiths and Darren Fox.
And it was also clear that they are learning from different situations after what happened against Caldy.
“We are a young squad, I think the oldest couple of boys in the team were 27 or 28, while we’re missing Griff and Foxy,” said Bretag-Norris.
“We don’t have some of those experienced players with their leadership, so it falls on to a few of the boys and it seems to be getting better.
“I think it’s something where we were trying to draw out that penalty, but in previous games we might have tried to do an offload or something like that.
“Whereas this game it felt steadier. Why? I would probably say because we’ve been in these situations now and we understand what’s required rather than before where we were still trying to learn. I think we have got a big part of that down.”
It was also the second year in succession that Cambridge have beaten Stortford at home thanks to a late long-range penalty.
“It’s something we have with Stortford as we won on the stroke of full time last year with a kick from halfway; this time, after full time,” said Bretag-Norris.
“There is no better feeling in terms of a win as it’s quite an emotion but I would probably rather be 20 points up and easing to the win comfortably – but we will take it.”