Hawcoat Park v Furness Match Report

Hawcoat Park 22.  Furness 6

The maroon and whites earned the local bragging rights by achieving the double in the local derby games for this season. Whilst a bigger winning margin than our 0 – 3 win at the Strawberry Grounds the game was a  typical hard fought physical encounter played in  difficult wet and windy conditions. However considering the amount of recent rain the pitch was in a relatively firm good condition testament to all the hard work in particular from Lee and Nobby Clarke.

The opening exchanges were the usual two rival teams testing each other out to earn that vitally important dominance up front. Home for the weekend Danny White was forming a formidable second row partnership with Chris Thompson who continues to have an outstanding season and it was following good work by the later and strong running prop John Donnan who set the platform for our first try 15 mins into the game. Driving hard into the Furness defence in mid pitch the ball was moved quickly to the left and with fullback Lewis Sayle coming into the line space was created for winger Benji Platt to finish well in the corner. Fly half Will Coles booted over a great touch line conversion. Playing well and after already pulling off one great covering tackle it was a shame he had to leave the field soon after feeling groggy after a couple of hard knocks. Dan Lightfoot had moved to fly half to replace Coles and mid way through the half booted over a 35metre penalty goal to stretch our advantage 10 – 0.
Back rows Matty Sayle and Mike Lightfoot were running hard and along with the inspirational leadership of skipper Andy Kent were at this point putting us on the front foot as we pushed for that important second try. As to be expected the Furness defence was determined and through a team effort and the usual suspects including skipper Corne Els and Joe Mallinson they managed to keep us out. It was Furness who finished the half strongest our full back Lewis Sayle needed to pull off a great last ditch covering tackle before James Howden returning to his former stomping ground booted over a fine 35 metre penalty in the testing conditions. Half time 10 – 3. 
Soon into the second half it was Howden who booted over another penalty to narrow the margin to 10 – 6.Furness sensed an opportunity and cranked up their efforts. During this spell our defence had to be strong Danny White in particular was putting in some bone crunching one on one tackles but the whole team had to be quick up in defence which was well marshalled by tenacious hooker Brad Morrow with support from all his pack colleagues.
Slowly but surely we started to regain that foot hold we had up front in the first half and through sensible close support driving play and following the instructions of the hard working coaching team of Jase Meadows and Col Niven managed to counter the worsening cold wet conditions. The real turning point came mid way through the half. From a Furness knock on about half way our winger Alex Brown and Mike Lightfoot were involved fly hacking the ball on across the greasy surface before centre Chris Burns just managed to win the chase to the ball before going dead. The conversion was too far out.15 – 6.
A good maroon and white spell followed, scrum half Jack Shannon was having a good game and was judged to have been held up over the line when helped to be driven over by the hard grafting Lee Van Haren. Replacement Luke Harrison was another one making an impact with strong running when given the opportunity.
With 10 mins remaining we scored the crucial third try to take the game away from the blue and whites. It was almost a repeat of the second try this time it was Matty Sayle who booted on the loose ball but it was again centre Chris Burns who was having a really strong second half who won the chase to the ball over the try line.  This time closer to the posts to allow Dan Lightfoot to convert. 22 – 6.
The last period was played out in very dark conditions but as usual Millom based referee Paddy Loughlin controlled the game sensibly. A word also for all three of our replacements Lewis Phillips, Jack Osten and Luke Harrison who all did their part when joining the play.
In what is the last game before the festive season and playing on the day of the players traditional Cabaret night it is always nice to get the victory particularly when it is our neighbours. However Furness have to take credit for their part in making what was an enjoyable spectacle in very tricky conditions. Final Score 22 – 6.

John Horne
Hawcoat Park RU

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