Furness 0 Hawcoat Park 3
After a two year gap this derby game was much anticipated by all involved in both camps. In good weather conditions the games of late have all been a war of attrition so in the wet and windy conditions of yesterday the players had a excuse for not producing a ” el Clasico” Although no excuses on the playing surface side the Strawberry Grounds looking in good nick after a good rest. What the play lacked in attacking play was balanced out by two committed even sides who demonstrated strong defence throughout. In hindsight both sides can look back on their game management and decisions taken that could of produced a different score. However as it turned out it was us in the maroon and white camp who were delighted to earn a hard fought win and continue an unbeaten start to the season.
Right from the start it was clear this was going to be a low scoring affair as two even packs battled to gain an ascendancy. When the likes of Scott Dobbie, Paul Woodburn and Chris Thompson(who both did so well to put in a full 80 mins shift.) made good ground we were frustrated by Adam Jackson putting in some long clearing kicks and making good use of the new 50 – 20 rule.
Both playing out of position our half backs Brad Morrow and Matt Sayle were doing a good job trying to control our play and often assisting in the forward exchanges. As the half progressed Furness disrupted our line out a mix of the difficult throwing in conditions and good work by Joe Mallinson at the front of the Furness line. As in previous weeks our scrum was strong and rapidly become our preferred go to option.
The best chance for points came when Furness fly half George Smith back at his spiritual home attempted a long distance penalty goal. Falling short we struggled to clear our line and gave away a penalty in front of the sticks. Much to our relieve Furness decided to run the ball and a spell of solid defence led by Capt Andy Kent and our hardworking back row of Grady Slater, Alfie White and Mike Lightfoot kept them out.
Half time 0 – 0.
Much of the same in the second half we were on top at scrum time but both sides defence remained robust. The only points of the game came 25 mins in when Matty Sayle booted over a fine 35 metre penalty goal. As to be expected Furness finished strongly playing into their favoured clubhouse corner and through workmanlike defence we just about managed to keep them out. Winger Matt Burrows put in one bone crunching tackle which forced the ball loose just before full time. Final score 0 – 3.
In his after match speech Furness Chairman Chris Read neatly summed it up declaring the one minute highlights disc will be available to watch shortly. Furness did manage one victory with Joe Mallinson just about pipping Callum Ramsay in the man of the match drink off. However it was the ample Furness beer that tasted the sweeter for the maroon and whites as they enjoyed the bragging rights in the first derby of the season with the reverse fixture at Hawcoat Park now keenly anticipated in mid December.
A final word for Workington based referee Alan Jenkinson who controlled the game well in testing conditions.