Hawcoat Park (24) v Wigton (53) – Saturday 8th September 2018
From the kick off an under strength patched up maroon and whites met a tidal wave of pressure from the powerful Wigton side. With Wigton running strong and backing up well we realised the importance of attempting to be quick to get our tackles in and were regularly caught a yard or so offside in our defensive line. From these regular penalties Wigton either booted over two penalty kicks or got some real speed into their game with quick taps. Despite some real committed effort on our part covering all over the pitch the Wigton play was difficult to handle. Four well worked trys came in quick succession all good team efforts two from the backs and two from the forwards including a delighted prop who supported play well to touch down under the posts. After 20 minutes the score was 0 – 32 with the home followers understandably fearing a ‘cricket score’. Skipper George Smith and experienced players the likes of Ash Mowat and Adam Grainger were heard to rally their younger inexperienced team mates to try and lift spirits and emphasis the potential outcome and score if this pattern continued.
The talking to worked and slowly but surely we started to get back in the game. The back row of joint second team skippers Pete Jennens and Matt Robson along with young Harry Higgins were working hard and as usual man of the match prop Paul Woodburn was running hard and making good ground to put us on the front foot.
After a good spell and good work by John Donnan and Andy Kent it was the outstanding Mowat who forced his way over with the back up support from his pack team mates. The conversion was missed, 5 – 32.
Thirty minutes in Wigton extended their lead their impressive scrum half slipped a neat inside pass to their strong running centre who shot under the posts for a converted try, 5 – 39. Centres Rodney Odondi, normally a winger and playing for the first time in this position and new dad Lewis Sayle were having really solid games particularly in defence but also with the limited ball they had in hand. Right on half time we collected our second try. Good work by hooker Adam Grainger had set a forward platform, scrum half James Howden carried on the good work moving the ball out wide quickly. With both Odondi and Glenn Kaighan outside him Sayle’s timely pass was deliberately knocked down by the Wigton winger the only way he was going to prevent the try. This resulted in a yellow card for the Wigton lad and a penalty try for us. Half time 12 – 39.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the second part of the first half with a whole hearted committed effort by all the maroon and whites lads playing for each other was well appreciated by all the home followers.
Fifteen minutes in to the second half Wigton further extended their lead with a well worked converted try, 12 – 46.
Young winger Keenan Cotton was having a really solid game on his first team debut tackling well above his weight and following some good work by him and the strong running Woodburn, skipper Smith stretched play and threw out a great long pass out to winger Kaighan to finish well right in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed, 17 – 46.
Thirty minutes into the half we scored our fourth try earning a bonus point. Following good runs by centre Sayle and Odondi, Mowat carried on the good work to slip a great pass to full back Benji Platt who was making a solid first team debut who finished off the try well half way between the corner flag and posts. Smith slotted over a good conversion 24 – 46.
Just before the end it was Wigton who brought up their half century of points when their big second row forced his way over near the posts for a converted try, 24 – 53.
This was never a game we were going to win with all the lads missing from the squad. However, new skipper Smith could not fault the 100% commitment shown by all his team mates and could not have asked for anything more once the early Wigton avalanche was over.
Hawcoat Rugby Union