Richie Williams impressed by Cambridge’s growing maturity in National League One
Richie Williams feels that Cambridge’s 17-14 win over Sale FC in National League One last Saturday was a sign of their growing maturity as a squad.
It was not until the 74th minute that the hosts finally took the lead for the first time in the match.
Chris Johnson touched down the only points of the first half as Sale led 5-0 at the break. Joe Green’s try levelled matters after the break, but two penalties from Johnson put the visitors 11-5 ahead.
Andrew Henderson touched down to reduce the arrears for Cambridge but Johnson landed another kick to make it 14-10.
However, Matt Hema’s try and Joe Tarrant’s extras secured Cambridge victory.
“We were behind for 90 per cent of the game so that makes it even more of a positive that we managed to get our noses in front so late on in the game, but still had enough energy, resolve and composure to be able to do that,” said Cambridge director of rugby Williams.
“The players were out on their feet at the end of the game, it was another attritional one.
“It was a game that I think we won because of our defensive efforts in the first half.
“Sale had the majority of the possession and territory, and I think we showed a really good level of resolve for the first 40 minutes. It took us until the 74th minute to get in front in the game, and credit to the players as they managed to hang on at the end.
“We made things quite difficult for ourselves at the end, but I think it has shown the evolution of the team and the leaders in particular that I reference a lot.
“We managed to find a way to win where we questionably wouldn’t have done that before.”
It is far from the first time this season that Cambridge have had to dig deep to seal the win, but such is their ability to do so that it is not a surprise. They are also adapting their play during the game.
“I think what we’re starting to see now is a consistency in our performances, and that’s our attack and defence,” said Williams.
“I thought Sale managed to cancel out some of our strengths. They managed to stop our driving line-out, but the level of maturity that we’re now showing is that we found other ways to score.
“I see that as a really positive step, and hopefully one that will put us in a good position now over the next couple of weeks.”
Cambridge have a gap weekend in the league this Saturday (January 15) so are instead playing a home friendly against Durham University, who are the top side in the British Universities & Colleges Sport league.
“We’re aware we’ve got Cinderford at home the following week, who are second in the league,” said Williams.
“The thought process for us was to try to play another meaningful fixture this weekend and hopefully carry on some momentum for that game.”