Cranleigh resumed Surrey 2 league duties at Old Wellingtonians on Saturday after a four week Christmas break.
Sadly the New Year gap wasn’t long enough to reduce the Cranes long injury list, and non-availability made selection very challenging.
However, the preparation on the day and the team spirit before the game was excellent.
Both teams looked rusty for the first 20 minutes and basic errors in passing and at the line out were plentiful.
It became apparent that the Wellingtonian pack had the better scrummage, however, and they started to dominate this crucial phase.
So much so that on 24 minutes they drove a scrum from the Cranleigh 22 to the line and scored from the base.
The successful conversion put Old Wellingtonians 7-0 up.
Cranleigh responded by putting their hosts under immediate pressure and good movement from the backs resulted in Joe Taylor going over under the posts.
It only took another two minutes, however, for Wellingtonians to restore their lead.
Their excellent fly half broke from the half way line to score, successfully converted his kick and leave the score 14-7 at half time.
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Another breakaway score was converted by the home team just two minutes into the second half.
This seemed to deflate the Cranleigh players and, with their front row struggling, it was difficult for them to create a base to play off.
Both sides were penalised heavily at the ruck and at 26 minutes, Wellingtonians were awarded a penalty on the Cranleigh 22 for holding on.
The successful kick made the score 24-7 to Old Wellingtonians.
By now both teams seemed low on ideas and stamina and that is how the score stayed to the final whistle.
The young Cranleigh backs fought hard but the lack of clean ball halted their progress in the end.
Cranleigh will look to re-build and rise to the challenge that Old Amplefordians present at home next week.
Cranleigh 2nd XV fell to a 15-36 home loss against Surrey Combination 1 South leaders Farnham 3rd XV on Saturday.
Jason Quick and Christian Morris were among the try scorers for the Cranes in a great game enjoyed by all and played in the right spirit.