Fergus Jemphrey hat-trick helps Cambridge University RUFC overrun Wooden Spoon Anti-Assassins
There was a perfect symmetry to the end of the old and beginning of the new as Cambridge University triumphed 66-7 over Wooden Spoon Anti-Assassins at Grange Road.
In his last act as the 2019 captain, Stephen Leonard scored the final points, a conversion, in the win over the Penguin International last week.
So what better way to mark being re-elected skipper for 2020 than by getting the first try of his new reign against the Anti-Assassins.
It arrived in some style too.
A turnover was made under their own posts by the university after five minutes, and play went along the line from Chris Bell to Rory Triniman to Mike Phillips, who kicked ahead from just outside his won 22.
Dougal Russell won the foot race to boot on, and galloping clear unhindered was Leonard to touch down.
Within 50 seconds of the restart, play went left for full-back Joey Gatus to break, and then not far into the Spoons’ half, he went outside to winger Fergus Jemphrey, who cut inside to charge under the posts.
It was the first of a hat-trick of tries for Jemphrey on a night when the university were afforded the space to run into.
It was no shame on the northern select side who got a taste of what others have had to endure before them this academic year when the students, who included 17 Blues, have got the ball in hand.
The only disappointing aspect maybe that more could not have seen it; with the mist descending and a clash of colours, working out who was doing exactly what became a bit of a lottery.
What was apparent though was that there was little appetite for any contest at the breakdown, both teams just wanted to try to keep the ball alive.
A dropped pass at the scrum was cleaned up by Gatus in the 14th minute, and play went wide for Jemphrey to get his second try.
An amazing solo break saw Leonard dance his way past multiple opponents from deep inside his own half only to be held up just shy of the line. However, play was recycled for Tom Walton to touch down. Mike Phillips third conversion made it 26-0.
The Anti-Assassins did not go into their shell though, and came back fighting, setting up a catch and drive at a line-out for Waterloo hooker Joe Randa to touch down.
There were three more tries for Cambridge before the half was out.
Demi Obembe was given a chance to impress at open-side flanker, and intercepted a pass in his own half to race clear and touch down.
Jemphrey returned the earlier favour to Gatus, who broke from halfway to score and, from a catch and drive at a line-out, Jemphrey then went straight through to complete his hat-trick. Phillips landed all three conversions to make it 47-7 at half time.
It became much more of a set-piece affair in the second half, with the number of scrums and line-outs racking up, limiting the free-flowing nature of the game.
Gatus got his second try after 49 minutes, and after an attempted clearing kick from the Anti-Assassins went spiralling up in the sky, when it came down, in the fog it was difficult to fathom just which one of the Light Blues applied the touch down.
There was no doubting the final try of the game though.
Good sniping work from Charlie Saunders saw him cross the whitewash, and George Laing kicked the final conversion of the match.
Cambridge University: Gatus; Russell, Triniman, Phillips, Jemphrey; Bell, Gliksten; Collins, Bilclough, Cook, Smart, Beckett, Walton, Obembe, Leonard.
Replacements: Huppatz, Jackson, Kasem, Pettit, McMahon, Saunders, Laing, Milford, Baines.
Wooden Spoon Anti-Assassins: Ramwell; Fieoed (Blackburn), Forster (Fylde), Cook (Southport), Roberts (Chester); Johns, France (Rossendale); Cooney (Southport), Randa (Waterloo), Rushton (Sedgley Park), Gore (Kirkby Lonsdale), Roddy (Oldham), Weare (Waterloo), Lehman (Old Tiffians), Bullough (Wigan).
Referee: Josh Burgess.
Scorers: 5min Leonard try (5-0), 6 Jemphrey try - Phillips con (12-0), 14 Jemphrey try - Phillips con (19-0), 21 Walton try - Phillips con (26-0), 26 Randa try - Johns con (26-7), 30 Obembe try - Phillips con (33-7), 32 Gatus try - Phillips con (40-7), 40+1 Jemphrey try - Phillips con (47-7), 49 Gatus try - Phillips con (54-7), 61 try (59-7), 80+9 Saunders try - Laing con (66-7).