Hawcoat Park 1XV v Whitehaven Report

Hawcoat Park (13) v Whitehaven (29)

Saturday 23rd March, 2019

It was a perfect spring day for our last home game in what has been certainly a disjointed season which started with the eight team Cumbria league split down to four after the festive season. A big and powerful Whitehaven side were the visitors and they deservedly returned up the coast victorious after controlling much of the game.

Missing a few of our bug guns up front it was clear from the start we were going to have to work very hard to counter the well drilled strong Whitehaven pack. For the first 10 minutes our defence was tested with the likes of Rory Sayle, Brad Morrow and vice captain Andy Kent working hard to compel the drives and support play from the visitors. After going close and getting called back for a knock on it was no real surprise when Whitehaven took the lead when following good support play their back row finished off the try which was converted, 0 – 7.

We slowly but surely got a foot hold in the game and following good work by the hard running Grady Slater and Lewis Sayle captain George Smith took the opportunity to put over a 30 metre penalty goal. Twenty five minutes into the half following a strong run by John Donnan we took the lead for the only time in the match. Callum Ramsay parted to prop Paul Woodburn who showed his usual strength to force his way over from close range. The conversion went just wide, 8 – 7.

Whitehaven finished the first half strongly and applied a lot of pressure we worked hard trying to keep them out but good support play throughout the team created the space for their centre to stretch out to touchdown for a try which was well converted. Half time 8 – 14.

The second half followed a similar pattern through the missing personnel we struggled to get our line out dominance but considering the size mismatch did well at scrum time.

Fifteen minutes in Whitehaven extended their lead, they were quick in support to exploit a couple of our miss tackles to eventually allow their No 8 a free run to the line for a try which was again converted soon after they booted over a 30 metre penalty goal to effectively make the game safe at 8 – 24.

We continued to show the good spirit demonstrated throughout and good handling following good work by Benji Platt and Brad Morrow centre Chris Burns finished off well out wide, George Smiths conversion just went wide, 13 – 24.

With playmaker Scott Kaighan and our man of the match Grady Slater both off the field injured and all our replacement options used up it was no surprise and fitting that Whitehaven finished the game strongly and on the final whistle their back row finished off another good handling team support try. Final score 13 – 29.

Next up next week is the rearranged game to take on Whitehavens old adversaries St Benedicts up the coast with captain George Smith needing to work hard to get the interest back into his squad as a season that has not really got going comes to a close.

John Horne
Hawcoat Rugby Union

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