Coldhams Bowl I – The Python poisons the Rhino

This weekend Coldhams Common was host to a fierce Cambridge vs. Cambridge battle. The Anglia Ruskin Rhinos were to play against the Cambridge University Pythons in a game which was set to be particularly brutal.

The Rhinos won the toss and chose to defer and the Pythons asked to receive the ball. From the kickoff the Pythons looked to assert their dominance with a short but powerful run from Nate Brakeley leaving Rhinos in his wake. This field position set the Pythons up nicely to hand the ball off to Brendan Baker just a few plays later and run it in for the first points of the game. A shaky snap on the extra point left Nick Roope to improvise and a completed pass to Jack Tavener gave Cambridge an 8-0 lead. Good defensive work from the Pythons lead to the Rhinos having to punt and the Pythons offence were back on the field. After one touchdown was brought back due to a holding call the ball was given to Baker again and he ran in a 24 yard touchdown. This time the extra point was good and Cambridge sat at 15-0 after just a few minutes of play. Again the Rhinos tried to push out of their own half but the experienced D-line of the Pythons prevented even the hardest efforts from producing any kind of result. Forced to punt again the ball fell to Nick Roope who marched it up the pitch before being tackled just short of the line. With the Pythons again knocking on the door of ARU Rhinos end-zone, quarterback Joe Yarwood threw the ball to Baker for his third touchdown of the game and it was only the first quarter. Another dodgy snap on the extra point left Roope to go off book again, this time completing the pass to Sebastian Funk. At the end of the first quarter the Pythons were 23-0 up.

The second quarter saw the inexperienced Rhinos find their feet and their defence forced a fumble recovery and after that an interception. Despite valiant efforts and a couple of injuries on the way, the Pythons were able to get Nick Roope into the end zone after a bit of cheeky footwork and very good blocking. The extra point was good and at halftime the score stood at 30-0 to Cambridge University.

The third quarter, despite a number of injuries, the Rhinos managed to force the Pythons back and the only points scored in the quarter were from a field goal kicked by Jack Tavener, the first one since the Pythons reformed. The first one ever being kicked by Keith Gordon, the current president of marketing for the NFL Players Association.
The fourth quarter saw the Pythons defence hammering into the Rhinos once again with Ed Cozens sacking the quarterback and his running back in one tackle, unfortunately injuring them both. This caused them to run the other side of the line where they fumbled the ball and it was recovered by first-time player Urmil Mehta. This turnover set up a touchdown as Sebastian Funk ran it over the line and the extra point followed soon after, resulting in a final score of 40-0 to the Pythons.

The end of the game showed the true camaraderie between both teams as opposing players congratulated each other. Apologies for injuries were issued and jokes were exchanged as the supposed rivals enjoyed the post match fun of the Super Bowl in the Cambridge Union.

The MVP for the Pythons was shared between Brendan Baker with his three touchdowns and multiple runs and Nate Brakeley who achieved 2.5 sacks and countless tackles, it was both players’ first appearance for the Pythons and they played exceptionally well. This was the Pythons first home win since 1997 (the year the Pythons disbanded) and they are determined to get a few more under their belt before the season is over.

This Sunday, 10th February sees the Pythons face the Canterbury Chargers on home turf (Coldham’s Common, 1pm kickoff)  For full event details visit and to keep up with the team’s progress visit .


Written by Guy Peters