Hawcoat Park (44) v Millom (10) – Saturday 14th September, 2019
Following on from the win in the Barrow derby the previous week Millom were the visitors for the maroon and whites first home game of the season. The teams had not met in a competitive match for a few years but have always enjoyed a good relationship and as always you know it will be a keenly contested hard game. This one was no different the opening exchanges were even as both packs tested each other out and defences were on top.
Ten minutes in and following good work by our hardworking front row of club captain Col Niven, Scott Dobbie and Andy Kent, fly half George Smith took the opportunity to boot over a 30 metre penalty goal to put our noses in front. The close contest and strong defence from both sides continued. However, mid way through the half it was Millom who scored the first try to take the lead. We were in possession on about the half way line and moving the ball out wide to an obvious overlap, however, the Millom centre nipped in to intercept. Although Jack Lord did well to get back to make a last ditch tackle the ball was recycled and Millom scored the try out wide. The difficult conversion was missed, 3 – 5.
We continued with our intended game plan of setting a sound platform up front before looking to stretch the ball out wide. Second row John Donnan had a solid game and following good work by him and fellow second row, 53 year old club stalwart Martin Kennedy, who never stopped working for the full 80 minutes, stand in scrum half Lewis Sayle moved the ball out wide quickly and impressive young full back Benji Platt came in to the line at pace. Running towards the corner flag he slipped a neat inside to winger Rodney Odondi who ran strongly to touch down near the posts for George Smith to convert, 10 – 5.
George Smith was controlling our play and moving the ball well on what was ideal weather conditions and a perfect pitch (thanks to Nobby and Lee). First he took the opportunity to boot over a rare drop goal and then on the last play before half time moved the ball out wide before parting to strong running centre Jason Milby who passed to Odondi who beat his man to once again finish well. The wide out conversion was missed. Half time 18 – 5.
Many a Millom side including those involving their stalwarts Gordon Park and Ian Shovelton on the touch line would have rolled their sleeves up and hit us with everything they had to get their side back into the game. The younger Millom lads in particular heads appeared to drop and this second try right on half time appeared to affect them.
We dominated the second half and played some good running rugby enjoyed by the home faithful.
Our back row of Alfie White, Mike Lightfoot and Callum Ramsay were outstanding allowing George Smith to pull the strings and Benji Platt to show off his pace to come into the line and cause problems for the Millom defence.
Four further trys followed the half at regular intervals all scored by the three quarters firstly the returning Matt Burrows, Smith, Odondi to complete an impressive hat trick and centre Chris Burns. Smith converted three of the trys. 44 – 5.
Before the end with the final play Millom were to score a deserving consolation, their young fly half beat a couple of tired looking tackles to run well to score a good try, the conversion was missed. Final score 44 – 10.
This was a good all round team effort, enjoyed by the home followers as we start to settle down with a changed intention of playing a more expansive game to compensate for the dominant forwards not currently available. The score line did not reflect the effort put in by the Millom lads particularly in the first half and there are some promising signs as they develop as a team.
A word also for referee Danny Shovelton, never an easy task to ref a match involving your home club but he did a great job controlling the game in a sensible manner.
Hawcoat Rugby Union