Cambridge Pythons marked their 2022 BUCS return with their third win of the seasonDik Ng/DKNG Photography

Cambridge University Pythons American Football Club (CUPAFC) beat Kent Falcons in emphatic fashion last Sunday (30/01), posting a 27-20 victory at Coldham’s Common to put them second in the BUCS South Eastern Tier 2A division.

Going into the game, Kent were undefeated and clearly felt confident. Both teams had played KCL Regents in their previous games, with Kent winning 36-6 yet Cambridge falling just short at 34-30 after a late rally.

Starting the match, Cambridge were perhaps too respectful, as they allowed Kent to race into a 14-0 lead with a running touchdown in the first and second quarters. Kent scored on their first two-point conversion, but Joel Camara chased down the runner to prevent the score on the second.

Kent’s defensive line saw some success early on, and Cambridge’s offense was marred by some unfortunate and, at times, confusing penalties. Fumbles also cost the Pythons in the first half, giving Kent good starting field position.

From the second quarter, Cambridge’s defense started to really assert themselves on the game. Kent’s dangerous passing game was neutralised and they were forced to rely on running the ball. After an excellent punt by Cambridge’s Daniel Starkey, Kent started a drive from their four-yard line and, after two stops by the defense, rookie DE Max Kaufmann brought pressure on the QB for a safety on his first play for the Pythons.

The score would remain 14-2 until the end of the third quarter. The two teams traded interceptions just before half-time, with Marius Brockhoff getting the pick for Cambridge. 

During the break, it was clear that the game was there to win. The Pythons just needed to rediscover the underdog mentality that enabled them to comeback against Kings before it was too late.

In the second half, Cambridge endeavoured to show that they were the tougher team. Kent were stopped repeatedly trying to run the ball, as the Pythons linebackers hit them hard. Cambridge’s offense put together some nice drives, with some tough running notably after contact. But these were not taken full advantage of in the third quarter, as an ambitious field goal fell short.

Kent scored on a QB sneak early in the fourth quarter but were stuffed on the two-point conversion to leave Cambridge down eighteen points with around fourteen minutes to play. But diamonds require pressure to form. After this point, Cambridge’s offense truly turned it on, finding the weaknesses in Kent’s defense and taking risks on fourth down. Richmond Ariyo made a great catch coming back and took the ball into the endzone for a 36-yard touchdown to reduce the deficit. The Pythons were just getting started. 

The defense quickly won the ball back, and big plays from Starkey and Anthony Giachin got the Pythons into scoring position. Giachin then shook off defenders to cut the deficit to just six. Kent were forced to punt, and Cambridge again rapidly drove down the field. Giachin found a hole in Kent’s defense to catch a great throw from QB Elias Neibert for a 39-yard touchdown to equalise. The PAT that could have put Cambridge ahead was tipped onto the posts.


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Kent again couldn’t move the ball at all, but a mix-up on special teams put them into scoring position with just minutes on the clock. Kent’s starting QB was sidelined briefly with a dislocated shoulder and in his absence poor snaps allowed Cambridge’s linebackers to get quick pressure onto the runners. Some massive hits pushed Kent back, and Leone Costi got a hand to the ball on third down to prevent a play. Kent then missed the field goal, giving the ball back to Cambridge with the scores still tied at 20-20.

Cambridge embarked on the game-winning drive with injuries to some key players. The connection between Neibert and Giachin again proved vital as Anthony first caught the ball down the sideline for a big gain, and then got between the Kent defensive backs to catch a 40-yard touchdown pass. Cambridge took the lead for the first time with around ten seconds left on the clock. Despite wild celebrations on the sideline, amounting to Cambridge at first having just nine players on the field, the PAT was converted for a 27-20 lead and cued absolute scenes just moments later.

MVP: The Pythons team

Rookie MVP: Max Kaufmann 



Offense: Elias Neibert (QB- Captain), Daniel Starkey (WR- Captain), Richmond Ariyo (WR), Will Bunker (WR), Anthony Giachin (RB), Alistair Wilson (RB), Andrew Dott (OT), Chris Ashling (OG) Leone Costi (C), Naziur Rahman (OG), Douglas Boler (OT).

Defense: Chris Ashling (DT- Captain), Owen Igiehon (DE), Leone Costi (DE), Joel Camara (OLB), Miles Pearce (OLB), Alex Chilton (LB), Harry Vellios (LB), Harry Pollock (CB), Benjamin Slade (CB), Daniel Starkey (LB/S), Marius Brockhoff (S- Captain).

Kent: Unconfirmed

Looking ahead, Cambridge are now second in the division with a game in hand behind Kings and level with Kent, but have the worst point differential of the top three teams. Nonetheless, the Pythons will hope to take that fourth-quarter form into their next game away to City University on Sunday (06/02).