Hawcoat Park 0 Upper Eden 15
Upper Eden were the final team we had to play in the first round of matches in the Cumbria League. In the bar after those games all the teams we had played had said the young upper Eden side were a very good and well drilled team. This must have been the incentive our lads needed to help avoid what could have been a long afternoon to turn in a really good committed workmanlike performance much to the delight of coaches Col Niven, Jase Meadows captain on the day Chris Burns and in fact all the home followers. A most enjoyable game took place and whilst Upper Eden returned up the M6 to Kirkby Stephen still unbeaten they will know they had been in a game.
The match started as it was to play out for the full 80 mins a close fought physical game containing very few penalties with both teams testing each other out throughout with strong determined defence to the fore right across the pitch to prevent scores.
Rory Sayle was doing well in the line out (and generally in the loose) and our scrum had a slight advantage and was getting on top.15 mins in strong running back row Alfie White went very close with only great Eden defence keeping him out. Soon after the ball was moved out to winger Rodney Odondi who went on a strong run down the wing but was just stopped short by a great cover tackle.
The lively Eden scrum half was the stand player all game and his combination with their powerful No 8 caused us problems. They were to go close on a few occasions and it had to be our strong team defence led by the likes of Chris Thompson hooker Brad Morrow and Mike Lightfoot and John Donnan that kept them at bay.
A half time score of 0 – 0 was a fair reflection of the determination shown by both teams to keep the opposition out.
The second half was almost a repeat. Rory Sayle had to leave the pitch with what looked a nasty knee injury to be replaced by brother Lewis meaning with hard working back row Matt already on the park the three Sayle brothers were not on the pitch together in front of proud Dad Ray.
Fair play to Upper Eden they latched onto every loose kick or error of judgment on our part and then through good handling and support play clinically finish off three trys as the half progressed. Two through their sharp winger wide out and the other through their experienced fly half.
We had our own chances but could not pierce their well organised defence. A further Eden try was prevented by great cover tackling by winger Rodney Odondi who had a solid game and replacement Jack Osten who grafted hard but overall this was a committed team performance with all the maroon and whites lads going toe to toe with a good young Eden side who deserve their lofty position as top of the league.
We did win the man of the match drink off through our prop Scott Dobbie and mention also for Millom based referee Paddy Loughlin who as always sensibly controlled the game to help make it such an enjoyable spectacle.
Final score 0 – 15