Will Rand hat-trick helps Shelford under-16s defeat Saffron Walden in the county cup
Will Rand touched down a hat-trick of tries as Shelford defeated Saffron Walden 39-7 in the Under-16s County Cup.
Exactly eight months after the sides met in last season’s final, they clashed again in the first match of this year’s competition.
Walden made a strong start but Shelford’s defensive line held firm to work back into the opposition’s half.
A scrum led to Rand getting possession to score the first try, with Harvey Taylor landing the conversion.
Walden replied with a break on the wing to touch down, and the conversion made it 7-7.
From the restart, Shelford worked the ball back down the pitch for Rand to drive through to score, and Taylor’s extras made it 14-7.
Just before half time, Taylor kicked a penalty to put Shelford 17-7 ahead.
Having been tackled on the line in the first half, Joe Gregory’s perseverance paid off after the break as he sped down the left wing to glide over the line for a try.
Henrique Malheiros powered through the defence to touch down and Rand completed his hat-trick with another determined run.
Good work from Taylor, Sam Arbon and Josh Barrett put in Henry Porter-Clarke to speed throught for the final try, which was converted by Taylor.
Shelford and Bury St Edmunds under-11s delivered a morning of top-quality rugby at the Davey Field.
The visitors brought three strong squads for the mini tournament with matches played in good spirit, with impressive communication between coaches, parents and players.
There were nine matches in total, with plaudits earned for the attitude and temperament displayed.
Shelford’s teams produced some skilful and committed rugby, and for the first time recorded player ruck and tackle statistics, with parents working out names and faces to tick the rucking and tackling boxes.
Charlie Astubury, Nate Davies an Neal Tuladhar earned mentions in dispatches for their exceptional tackle stats, Isaac Robertson and James Collins for their outstanding rucking and Ted Dean for his all-round performance in both key areas.
Charlie Heal and Kyal Edmonds grabbed a hat-trick of tries apiece as Shelford A earned a 64-0 win over Saffron Walden A in the Under-15s County Cup.
Shelford were on the ball from the off.
The forwards were dominant in the set piece and open play, frequently turning over possession.
In the backs, the ball was moved deftly and accurately with effective supporting lines allowing off-loads and clever kicks from hand by Sam Doubleday and Ben Carey.
The defence, while never particularly under pressure, was strong and did not allow Walden to ever get on the front foot or develop any rhythm to challenge the line.
Heal and Edmonds finished with three tries each, Doubleday touched down twice and Tui Baleisolomone and Fraser Christie got one apiece.
Christie also landed seven conversions, many from tricky positions, while Ali Goodman was named Shelford’s man of the match.
It proved to be a compelling victory for Shelford that was built on strong team work.
Skipper Daniel Kember touched down four tries as Cambridge triumphed 37-7 against Shelford Blues in the Under-15s County Cup.
In a scrappy first half, both teams failed to protect their own ball as turnovers were frequent.
The driving maul was working well for Cambridge as Kember led the pack, and he opened the scoring by spotting a gap on the blind side to touch down. Keir Harper converted.
Some nice interplay in the forwards saw possession moved wide by Shelford for Josh Schiller to score, with Joel Butler-Burd’s conversion making it 7-7.
Another good drive by Cambridge’s pack earned Kember his second try to make it 12-7 at half time.
Strong work from Cambridge resulted in two more tries from Kember in the second half.
There was also one apiece for lock Franklin Scott, winger Patrick Mangell and a final score from Tom Prior.
There was a late try-saving tackle by Shelford’s Ari Fogh to deny Cambridge, for whom Kember and No 8 Tom Evers earned special praise.
Despite the score, Shelford contributed a determined and heartening performance in a match played in good spirit.