Cambridge University fail to pick up a win over Penguin International XV
Omar Hattea scores eye-catching try
A contender for try of the season at Grange Road could not inspire Cambridge University to victory over the Penguin International side.
There are certain moments in games that you just have to tip your hat to, and Omar Hattea’s second-half try for the Light Blues was one such occasion.
The hosts were trailing 19-7 when fly-half Owen Perks, in a central position inside the Penguin 22, attempted an ambitious kick to the corner.
It was asking a huge amount of the winger, but somehow he spectacularly caught the ball low by the flag – akin to a slip fielder in cricket – and also managed to ground it over the try-line at the same time.
Such ingenuity from the No 10 and application to reach the ball from Hattea are exactly the type of traits that the Lent Term is all about for the Light Blues.
However, they were not in as much abundance as probably would have been wanted.
Instead, it was the Penguin International XV that were the more dominant side, and it was not really surprising given the strength of team that they had managed to put out.
Anchoring them was old Blue Dave Spelman, with the Bedford Blues tight-head prop giving a thorough test of the future credentials of the hosts’ up-and-coming props Charlie MacCallum and Will Dean.
There was a further wealth of experience in the back row, including old Blues Tom Malaney and Tom Stanton, while among the backs was Oliver Clough, another ex-Cambridge University player, and Dan Lewis, with the former Cambridge man an inventive force at full-back.
It was the forward power that put the students up against it in the first half, with the opening score arriving for the Penguins after only two minutes with a penalty try after a scrum infringement.
Another scrum on the line after 16 minutes led to Bedford’s Huw Worthington touching down as the Penguin tight eight trundled their way over the line.
However, a catch and drive from a line-out four minutes later saw Dean apply the finishing touches for the students, with Jake Hennessey adding the conversion.
It was quite a broken affair all match as both sides struggled for continuity and the Light Blues were not really able to stretch the visitors as much as they would have liked.
Handling was also proving somewhat difficult on what was a dry night, and that kept handing the Penguins the initiative to make their dominant scrum tell.
It was a tap penalty that led to the final try of the half, with Charlie Saunders grounding the ball for the Penguins to make it 19-7.
Hattea had his moment at the start of the second period, but there then followed a long period of nothingness in what was a very stop-start affair.
And the only other score was decisive for the Penguins as a succession of penalties along the university 22 led to the ball eventually going wide for James Neal to sprint clear on the touchline to touch down to seal a 24-12 victory.
Next up for the university are matches against the RAF and the Navy, and they will provide a further chance for some of the Light Blues’ youngsters to stake their case for next year.
Scorers: 2min penalty try (0-7), 16 Worthington try – Lewis con (0-14), 20 Dean try – Hennessey con (7-14), 32 Saunders try (7-19), 46 Hattea try (12-19), 74 Neal try (12-24).
Referee: Andy Smith.
Sin bin: Cambridge University – Dean (technical offence, 52); Penguin International – Stanton (technical offence, 32), 80+3 R Malaney (technical offence, 80+3).