1stXV v Cambridge, Sat Oct 21, 15:00, Match Preview
Ampthill welcome Cambridge to Dillingham Park this Saturday for our second home local derby of the season. The 60 minute journey, the second shortest of our rivals, typically results in a large crop of enthusiastic visiting supporters.
Cambridge RUFC was formed in 1923 and was settled in its current ground by the 1950s. In 1993 the Club acquired the lease on its existing three pitches and tbought adjoining land for a further three pitches. Floodlights were added to one of these pitches in 2003 so that evening games might be played and the light available for training was improved beyond recognition.
The club entered the league structure in 1988 and by 1991 was playing in London 3 North East where they remained until for 5 years until promoted to London 2 North. In 1999/2000 the Cambridge were playing in London 1 but were relegated in 2001/02 Season. However, the club’s desire for higher level rugby saw a rebuilt side finish second to London Scottish and win an play-off to win promotion back to London 1 followed by another promotion to National 3 South followed which itself was immediately followed by promotion to National 2 under player-coach, James Shanahan.
In seasons 2006/7 and 2007/8 strong home form saw 9th and 6th place finishes respectively, however the next season saw the club finish 2nd missing out on promotion by just 3 pts.
Mini and Youth Rugby was started at Cambridge in January 1975, the first club in the Eastern Counties to take up this new and exciting challenge. Two recent Club Chairmen and a Club President have come from the ranks of the Mini & Youth parents.
Off the field, 2005 saw a brand new clubhouse rise above the old to accommodate growing support and rising sponsorship; two years on and a 200 seat grandstand was added to the front of the clubhouse to give one of the most attractive rugby venues in the National Leagues.
Cambridge have a played 7, won 3 record in National 1 this season to lie 8th in the table, two of those wins coming away from home. Their recent form is impressive, they lost 17-10 at Plymouth a fortnight ago, not many clubs will leave Devon with a bonus point while last week they secured a very comfortable win at home to Rosslyn Park by 50-23.
Ampthill’s fourth consecutive try bonus point win away at Loughborough Students last week (14-36) was typical of Amps performances this season, a very good first quarter was followed by poor second & third quarters only for the last to see an, at times, unplayable visitors pull away for a 2 try to 5 try win. In an interesting development, the home side fielded 11 new players, at least 7 of whom were contracted members of Leicester Tigers Development squad!
The squad for this week has a few changes, up front Ben Gulliver starts at lock, Billy Johnson at blindside flanker and Maama Molitika at eighthman.
In the backs Stef Liebenberg starts at scrum half with Will Goodge at centre.
On the bench Syd Blackmore rotates while Gavin Williams comes in to provide scrum half cover.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “Cambridge have found a real run of form and destroyed Rosslyn Park last weekend at Volac park and took a losing bonus point away at Plymouth Albion the weekend before so they represent a clear threat to our unbeaten home record this weekend.
When we stick to pattern and process we are beginning to find our form recently but if we drop off for any period of time on Saturday Cambridge have the potential and the fire power to trouble us.”