Hawcoat Park (35) v St Benedicts (0)
Saturday 3rd March, 2019
The wet and windy weather arrived just before kick off as forecast and in horrendous playing conditions this was a game that was not going to stick in the memory bank for very long. It was a patched up St Benedicts side that arrived in Barrow but as always when playing the Whitehaven based side irrespective of who is playing for them they work tremendously hard for each other and we certainly had to earn this win with a grinding out performance.
It was Bennies who started the game best and all the early exchanges were spent in our 22 metre red zone. Their experienced forwards were certainly making it difficult for us and our defence had to be strong to keep them at bay. Rory Sayle was putting in his usual grafting performance well supported by Mike Gibson and John Donnan but it was in all areas that our defence was put to the test. After 10 minutes and our first visit into the Bennies half we collected our first try. It was the outstanding Callum Ramsey who made the initial break running strongly and then showing good speed on a 50 metre run skipper George Smith was up in support to carry on the move to pass on to the ever improving winger Jack Lord to finish well out wide. Smith booted over a great conversion to our five trys.
Any thoughts that this was going to be the start of the score board ticking over on a regular basis were certainly put to bed by Bennies who continued to play with a real spirit making it very difficult for us to produce any sustained pressure.
Right throughout the game we got on the wrong side of the referees penalty count. In a game played in good spirit none were for foul play but somehow we were committing all the technical offences and then talking back to the referee out of frustration was certainly not going to help. Vice captain Andy Kent celebrating his engagement to Laura was the fist to take a 10 minute break for a team offence yellow card and was to be followed by Callum Ramsay before half time.
Not long before half time we added our second try. Good work by hooker Adam Grainger set the platform up front, quick hands by half backs Jack Shannon and Scott Kaighan put centre Chris Burns into space as the cover came across instead of continuing the move out wide, Burns cut back inside to run a strong angle from 25 metres out to touch down near the posts. George Smith converted. Half time 14 – 0.
As the weather worsened the second half followed the same pattern as a mix of penalty offences and determined Bennies efforts prevented our getting any flow into our play. Winger Rodney Odondi had joined play at half time and showed up really well going on a couple of long runs to provide some entertainment for the hard core wet maroon and white followers.
At one point it looked like no further scores would be forthcoming in the second period, however, with 15 minutes remaining understandably after all their previous efforts and lacking fresh replacements Bennies began to fatigue and we managed to add three further trys and therefore earn a bonus point win.
Following good work by Grady Slater and then Benji Platt and fellow centre Lewis Sayle, Chris Burns was in support to collect his second try, which was converted by Captain Smith 21 – 0. The fourth try came via a push over, good work involving Paul Woodburn and John Donnan created a five metre scrum which was one to many for the exhausted Bennies pack and No Slater touched down under the posts, 28 – 0.
The fifth and last try was our best, good hands by fly half Kaighan freed up the strong running Ash Mowat who went on a typical barnstorming run before parting to the supporting Burns to run in for his hat trick of trys. Final score 35 – 0.
A win that had to be earned in difficult conditions.
Newcomer Lee Van Haren making his debut off the bench in the back row looked a very good addition to the squad.
One of the problems, the limited number of teams playing in the reorganised Cumbria league, is highlighted next week when we travel to play Bennies again up the coast which will no doubt be an even harder task.
Hawcoat Rugby Union