Hawcoat Park 29 Egremont 21
There was an excited buzz about the place as grassroots rugby union returned to Hawcoat Park after 18 months and with both teams at home. The seconds went down 5 – 27 to an experienced stronger Southport side whilst the firsts had to work extremely hard to overcome a strong Egremont side by 29 to 21.
On a perfect surface it was Egremont who started strongest and not for the last time in the game put some width into their play through their impressive free running backs. Our defence had to be strong with winger Alex Brown and full back Benji Platt covering well.
10 mins into the game and after our first spell in the Egremont half good play from back row Mike Lightfoot resulted in a penalty which brother Dan booted over from 30metres.
The game settled down with all players enjoying getting back in contact which resulted in a good old fashioned even physical battle. Midway through the half we extended our lead a good spell of pressure with Scrum half Jack Shannon to the fore resulted in hardworking No 8 Alfie White forcing his way over from close range 8 – 0.Before the break Egremont came back again moving the ball well they created an overlap winger George Hilton did well to halt the attack but the Egremont centre snapped up the loose ball to cross for a converted try. Half time 8 – 7.
As to be expected after such a long break the play was rusty at times but a close tight game ensued for the decent returning crowd to enjoy.
Egremont took the lead a little against the run of play defending well against a sustained spell of maroon and white forward pressure on their line when the ball went loose Egremont were quick to snap up moving out to their winger who made good ground before passing inside to his supporting centre for a fine full length of the pitch converted try. 8 – 14.
Our bounce back try to take the lead was also against the run of play. Again with Egremont attempting to run the ball our winger George Hilton cleverly stepped in to intercept and go 40 metres to score under the posts Will Coles converted 15- 14.
As the game progressed the maroon and whites front five started to dominate the scrums. Props Scott Dobbie and Andy Kent with hooker Brad Morrow set the platform with John Donnan and Chris Thompson providing the grunt in the second row. It was great to see Tommo who has worked so hard on his fitness during lockdown putting in such a solid 80mins. Our third try came after a good spell based around this scrum advantage. Back row Callum Ramsay playing his 200th first team game and as with all previous 199 having a fine game leading from the front by example made good ground and following further good work by centre Chris Burns they set up a position for Alfie White to force his way over for his second try. Will Coles booted a fine conversion from wide out.22- 14.
If we thought this was game over Egremont certainly had other ideas. With five mins to go their impressive fly half went on a sidestepping run albeit through some ordinary defence to score a fine individual try near the posts which was converted 22 – 21.
To the relief of the home side our deep restart kick was knocked on. Another powerful scrum was pushing Egremont over their line before an offence prevented the score so a Penalty try was awarded. Final score 29 – 21.
This was a game we had to work very hard to win against a solid workmanlike Egremont side who on this evidence look set for a strong season.
A difficult trip up the coast to Workington awaits next week.