Hawcoat Park 1st XV v Workington

Hawcoat Park (51) v Workington (13)

Saturday 16th November, 2019

The eventual final score was one that did not do justice to the efforts shown by the Workington Zebras who particularly in the first half played their part in making this an enjoyable competitive contest. With the half time score 17 – 13 it was only into the second half with Workington lacking replacement options that we could open up play against a tiring side and score some good trys enjoyed by the home faithful. As the home side we had a strong bench to freshen things up and bringing on the likes of experienced Mike Lightfoot improved both our line out options and creativity in the loose play.

It was the big Zebras pack who started the best going through phases well and supplemented by a strong of penalties they were the ones who applied all the early pressure. Ten minutes in it was no surprise when Workington took the lead with a 40 metre penalty goal by their fly half who was to kick impressively in all aspects all game, 0 – 3.

We slowly but surely started to get a foot hold in the game with props Paul Woodburn and Col Niven taking the ball up well, supported by young second row Corey Doughty the platform was set for our first try. The ball was moved out wide centre Lewis Sayle freed up strong running winger Rodney Odondi. He was only prevented from scoring in the corner by a desperate covering tackle that the ref judged to be too high awarding a penalty try, 7 – 3.

An even contest continued with both packs having a good tussle. Midway through the half it was the Zebras who regained the lead. Moving the ball well their fly half spotted space behind our flat defensive line accurately kicking through their centre was quickest to react to gather the ball and touch down. The conversion was added from wide out, 7 – 10. As a reflection of the close contest impressive scrum half Will Coles and the Zebras fly half exchanged penalty goals, 10 – 13.

As half time approached we regained the lead through a second penalty try. Our scrum was slowly getting on top resulting in our taking this option whenever possible and unusually in the current game experienced hooker Adam Grainger taking a ‘few against the head’.

From one such strike outstanding back rows Callum Ramsay and skipper for the day Alfie White led a drive for the Workington line. When illegally prevented the penalty try was awarded. Half time 17 – 13.

The second half was a different story as we started to use interchanges against a game but fatigued Zebras on a perfect plat pitch thanks to Nobby Clarke and his small team we could put on an impressive handling and running display many team efforts enjoyed by the home supporters.

Before the trys started to flow it looked like it was going to be one of those frustrating afternoons. From a spell of pressure in the favoured club house end a couple of trys that appeared good were not awarded. For a televised game they would have been sent to the TMO but on a grey Barrow afternoon it was very difficult for one pair of eyes who cannot be positions everywhere to spot. As it turns out our own version of the TMO ace photographer Mark Fitzgerald was on hand to capture both trys being scored. It was certainly no criticism of the ref as he rejected suggestions he stopped the game to look at Fitzy’s camera!

The game throughout was a little disjointed with six yellow cards awarded. By his own admission in the bar the ref conceded ‘it was not a six yellow card game’ the way it was played but he can only interpret each individual situation under RFU rules. The disruptions did not prevent our playing some good rugby. Fly half Elliott McDermott was having a good game controlling our play with intelligent kicking and running. Strong running Josh Vial was showing up well out of his normal position in the centre and with Captain Alfie White and Callum Ramsay all over the part well supported by young guns Joe Rea and Harry Higgins trys came at regular intervals through Adam Grainger, Keenan Cotton, John Donnan, Mike Lightfoot, Elliott McDermott and Will Coles. The fourth bonus point earning try was the best, from a good forward platform accurate long passes from Coles then McDermott allowed centre Lewis Sayle to pass to elusive running fell back Benji Platt coming into the line to pass out to young winger Keenan Cotton to show good gas to finish in the corner, Final score 51 – 13.

A pleasing good win that had to be earned but well done to Workington for their part in an enjoyable contest.

John Horne, Hawcoat Rugby Union

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