Hawcoat Park 1st XV v Keswick

Hawcoat Park 16 v Keswick 22

Saturday 1st December 2018

To a man the maroon and whites squad put in a great team performance to run league leaders Keswick very close but at the end of the day the impressive Keswick side just did enough to earn their victory. In difficult conditions on a wet day and one that hardly got light both teams served up an entertaining close game for the hardy spectators with surprisingly few handling mistake resulting. The game started evenly as both teams tested each other out particularly up front with both sides demonstrating strong defence. Captain George Smith missed a difficult penalty goal attempt during this period. As usual Keswick were a well drilled collective unit getting good numbers very quickly to the breakdown and after 15 mins as Keswick cranked up the pressure they scored the first try. Always impressive in the three-quarters Keswick moved the ball well out to their speedy winger who made good ground into the heart of our defence before good support play allowed their back row to touch down the conversion was missed. 0 -5. With their confidence high soon after Keswick extended their lead with a similar team try with good handling and support play whilst difficult to tell in the gloomy conditions who got their hands on the ball last but it appeared to be a back row forward. This time the conversion was added.0 – 12. We came right back into the game with full back Lewis Sayle showing up well when bringing the ball back and our pack were collectively showing up well making the hard yards. For a spell we got our line out driving maul working to good effect, Mike Lightfoot appeared to be over the line but was held up. However soon after Grady Slater forced his way over right in the corner. The difficult conversion was missed however 30mins in skipper George Smith booted over a good 35 metre penalty goal to narrow the deficit 8 – 12. As half time approached the momentum was with us and we had a sustained spell of pressure. Right on half time we scored a second very good try. Good work by Jack Sutherland and Callum Ramsay up front allowed hard working scrum half Jack Shannon to spread out play on about half way Lewis Sayle came into the line at pace to make good ground, centre Chris Burns got involved slipping a neat pass inside to supporting fellow centre Ryan Clegg who did well to collect the ball and force his way through the cover tacklers. The conversion was missed but for the first time we had taken the lead. Half Time 13 – 12.

As to be expected from a team at the top of the pile Keswick came back at us very strongly at the start of the second half. They applied real pressure on our line their scrum was very impressive and we had to work extremely hard to keep them out with our tackling top notch. Keswick took the opportunity to boot over a 30 metre penalty to regain the lead. Midway through the half following good work by Ash Mowat and Adam Grainger, captain George Smith calmly booted over a 35 metre penalty to edge us back in front. As we knew they would Keswick cranked up the pressure once again pounding away at our try line. On a few occasions they looked to have forced their way over but our defence remained strong. Hardworking Brad Morrow received a team yellow card for persistent penalties we were forced to concede. Eventually and you could see it coming 30 mins in Keswick scored the winning try with their powerful second row forcing his way through our defence near the posts the conversion was added 16 – 22.

For the last ten minutes we through everything we could at Keswick to try and snatch the victory. A good passing move stretched the play from Benji Platt on the right wing over to left winger Jack Lord who finished well in the corner only to be pulled back for a forward pass during the move. The Keswick penalties mounted up as they desperately defended their line resulting in two of their players receiving yellow cards as the home players and followers hoping a penalty try would come but it was not to be and Keswick just about hung on for the win.

Keswick are an impressive well drilled side who play as a unit with no particular stand out “stars” they won 59 – 12 on their firm wide pitch back at the end of September but this was an impressive display by all the maroon and whites to give Keswick a real scare.

Hopefully we can put in a similar performance next week when welcoming Whitehaven when we will be looking to revenge a recent defeat up the coast.

John Horne
Hawcoat Park RU

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