Holt win worth the wait

This week Holt are at home to Thurston in the league and former England scrum half Nick Youngs will be holding a coaching clinic this coming Wednesday for all Holt backs.

This week Holt are at home to Thurston in the league and former England scrum half Nick Youngs will be holding a coaching clinic this coming Wednesday for all Holt backs.

On Saturday, Holt travelled down to Cambridge to play Cantabrigians and returned with a 12-0 win.

From the outset, with both clubs next to each other in the league, this was going to be a close game.

Holt's preparations were not helped by virtually the whole team arriving just before the scheduled kick off due to traffic issues. However, Cantabs very sportingly gave the visiting side enough time to prepare and the game started 15 minutes late with the officials' blessing.

Holt started strongly and worked their way up the pitch through a series of forward drives, Bruce Poortvliet sniping around the edges and Ilsley kicking for position.

Eventually, Cantabs conceded a penalty from 35 meters out which, on any normal day, would have been kicked. However, such were the conditions, that Ilsley found it difficult to steady himself and the ball drifted wide.

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Holt then went to sleep for 10 minutes allowing Catabs back into the game as they played some inventive rugby to drive towards Holt's 22.

Holt's defence gave away two penalties, both which were kickable, however, the Cantabs kicker had similar problems in gaining any form of purchase on the pitch and both penalties were missed.

After an injury break where the Holt captain held a lively discussion on how the team should progress for the remainder of the game the visiting side again took the attack to Cantabs.

Towards half time Holt produced a great attacking platform in midfield on the oppositions 22 which saw Jake Poortvliet take the ball forward and offload in the tackle to Childs, who broke the gain line, again offloading to Botwright to score in the corner, giving the visitors a half time lead of five points.

Again in the second half Holt started strongly as conditions gradually deteriorated. Heavy rain through out the week and on match day threatened the fixture - the pitch was cutting up badly.

The Holt forwards were constantly taking the game to Cantabs expending a lot of energy but also sapping their opponent's energy too.

The Holt back row were everywhere, ably led by Childs, Woods was constantly competing for 50/50 ball and winning, Wright cut down anyone who came into the midfield snuffing out any potential Cantabs move.

Any threat from the out wide was quickly shut down by the Holt centres, Gibbs and Self or dealt with by the very effective back three of Tutthill, Botwright and Hammond.

On several occasions Cantabs tried to put Holt on the back foot only to see the Holt back three kick the ball back with interest or run through the Cantabs chasing defence.

The whole back line, given the conditions, handled the ball efficiently, kicked for position well and broke the gain line regularly and as a unit frustrated Cantabs all day - this is a direct result of the amount of training the back have been doing in recent weeks.

From one such kick for position from Ilsley, Holt successfully contested their opponents line-out on the 22 and Amiss took the ball infield.

Having set for a drive Holt stalled, quickly eying up the situation Bruce Poortvliet called for more power, his brother Jake and Knights hit the back of the maul at pace pushing the pack forward.

With good ball control from Childs Holt drove Cantabs the full 22m where Jake Poortvliet scored a genuine pack try. From out wide Ilsley successfully got the conversion increasing the score to 12 points.

With 15 minutes to go, Holt made changes to their tired pack bringing on Cherry, Sturnam and Miller. With the injection of fresh legs Holt again went forward positively looking for a third try.

Hammond came close to scoring in the corner only to be frustrated by surface water on the pitch pushing the ball out of play in the corner.

Given the conditions on the day full credit must be given to both Cantabs for the way they played the game, allowing Holt time to prepare and the match official, who had an outstanding game, allowing the match to advance at every possible opportunity in very testing conditions where handling was difficult, under foot conditions slippery and team colours soon matched each other.