Cottenham Rengades 31 v Beccles 31
By Keith Johnstone
Beccles had their furthest away trip of the season on Saturday to Cottenham Renegades near Cambridge. In a hard fought match Beccles snatched a late try to get a draw 31 – 31.
Beccles were missing a few of their front five regulars but still were able to travel with a strong team. The match was played with a strong wind blowing along the pitch which Beccles played in to in the first half.
Cottenham kept Beccles pinned in their own half early on and opened up an early lead with a couple of penalties. The big Cottenham pack kept Beccles on the back foot and when Beccles did gain field position Cottenham kicked well to put them deep back in their own half.
Beccles gradually began to find a foothold in the game and keep Cottenham in their own twenty-two. After a number of phases of possession Beccles were awarded a penalty five meters out. The fast thinking Kauri took it quickly and went over for the opening score. He then added the conversion.
Beccles continued the good work and when Hannam found space in the Cottenham defence he went over for another score. Kauri again added the extras.
However, Beccles then had their poorest section of the game. Cottenham were able to add two tries and another penalty before half time to go in leading by 21 – 14.
Beccles started the 2nd half well. A driven lineout on the twenty-two sucked in the Cottenham defence allowing Kauri to break off in to acres of space and score his second try in the corner. He was unlucky to strike the upright with his conversion attempt from the touchline.
Beccles lost Hannam to a head injury and Kauri to the sin bin as the big Cottenham pack began to turn the screw. They added two more tries to give themselves a twelve point lead with quarter of the game left.
Beccles gave it one last big push. They were keeping the ball well and putting Cottenham on the back foot. After a number of drives Adams burrowed his way over from short range. Kauri again struck the upright with another conversion from the touch line.
Beccles were seven points behind with time running out. A number of phases of Beccles attacking the Cottenham line were ended with a knock on. Cottenham just needed to keep possession for a minute and clear the ball to win the game. As they attempted this Johnstone was on hand to make the turnover. The ball was fed out to man of the match Bonner who crashed his way over for the try. This left Kauri with a tricky conversion to tie the game up with the last kick. He showed no nerves before slotting it over to give a final score of 31 – 31.
Beccles now set top of the table at the half way point of this league. With four games to go they will be looking to secure promotion and the league title. They have a week off before the visit of Cottenham on the 23rd March.