THREE breakaways tries cost Coventry dear as they went down to a Zoo Sports Shield defeat despite having the better of possession for long periods.
Playing uphill into a very strong wind Coventry dominated possession for the first ten minutes, causing Cambridge problems and resulting in numerous penalties, but when they looked certain to score with a three-on-one overlap the pass wasn’t accurate enough and resulted in a length of the pitch interception try under the posts and conversion for Cambridge.
Coventry kept their focus and had most of the possession for the next 15 minutes with last-ditch tackling from Cambridge keeping them out.
Cambridge played the conditions well, repeatedly clearing their lines from their own 22, and a line-out steal deep in Cov’s 22 and missed tackles led to converted try under the posts to double the home lead.
The pattern continued with Cov pressing and a stubborn defence just keeping them out, and from a five-metre scrum in a prime position in the middle of the pitch, sloppy hands caused a mistake which Cambridge pounced on to sweep upfield for their third try and a 21-0 lead from scarcely any ball in the first half hour.
Cov finally clicked on the stroke of half-time, keeping the ball well and going through the phases to break down the home defence with great hands from the backs finished off by Joe Lane for 21-5 at the break.
The second half was a lot more even with both defences looking strong but some of the referee’s calls from the referee leading to a stop-start pattern and some tension between the two teams.
Cov finally made the breakthrough on 55 minutes with pressure and slick hands leading to a strong run-in from winger Kwaku Asiedu.
Both teams had chances but were kept out by good defence before Cov struck again midway through the final quarter, big ball carrying from the forwards putting the backs on the front foot and Ben Palmer crossing under the posts with his conversion reducing the gap to just four points at 21-17.
But with five minutes left and Cov causing the Cambridge defence problems, a knock-on was missed at a ruck five metres out and the home side again went the length of the field for a converted try to seal their win.