Playing rugby in a 40-mph wind isn’t easy but Caldy didn’t miss a beat and dominated a competitive and well drilled Student’s side from the start. Considering the conditions, it was a high-quality game with both sides making few mistakes but it was Caldy’s suffocating defence that made the difference.
Any possession the Students gained was nullified by such pressure they generally ended up at least 10 metres further back than from where they started. The first score began with a turnover by Caldy and a sweeping all pitch move that put Rhys Hayes in at the corner. Caldy’s remaining six tries came at regular intervals with scores from Adam Aigbokhae, a brace from prop John Whittaker, and single scores by the outstanding lock Tom Sanders, the league’s top try scorer Nick Royle and powerful scrum half Cameron Davies. It was all one-way traffic until in the final moments of the game referee Dan Rowlands seemed concerned for the Students’ wellbeing and whistled for a score by flanker Matthew Wilkinson.
Although Caldy’s forward power was evident and necessary in harsh weather conditions, the backs played their part. Good service from Cam Davies allowed stand off Lewis Barker to orchestrate his potent back line with an urgency and tempo which often mesmerised the visitors and delighted the home crowd. It could have been a calm and balmy day such was the accuracy of Caldy’s passing. A lessor side than the Student’s would have been shredded of belief and confidence before the end and it was to their credit that they never gave up.
The Caldy man of the match award could have gone to virtually anyone in the squad but special mention has to go to all the Caldy forwards who were just outstanding. They demolished the Student’s scrum to rubble, overwhelmed them at the breakdown and relentlessly chopped them down in the loose. Apart from the odd wayward line out throw which was entirely to be expected given the 50-mph cross wind, it was a complete performance.
Both sides contributed to a highly entertaining game but with a hugely dominant pack Caldy were just too powerful, too clinical and too well organised for the visitors. With both Fylde and Sedgley Park losing, the bonus point win increased Caldy’s lead at the top of table to a healthy 12 points.
However, there are significant challenges to come, starting next week with a tricky trip to Luctonia. To prepare Caldy to be as dominant away from home against a resurgent Luctonian side is this week’s challenge for Matt Cairns and his coaching group.