Hawcoat Park 1st XV v Workington

Hawcoat Park 17 Workington 5

In the extremely windy conditions coming across from the Irish Sea the majority of the play took place on the cricket pitch side of the fine playing surface thanks to the efforts of Nobby, Lee and the small team of volunteers. The players did not allow the conditions to affect their commitment and two evenly matched teams produced a good game with strong defence always to the fore. As it was the maroon and whites just had enough to achieve the double after winning at Workington’s Ellis sports ground 12 – 0 in another close game at the start of the season.

The opening exchanges set the tone for the rest of the game with both teams showing admirable defence right across the park as both teams tested each other out. Slowly but surely Workington cranked up the pressure with their big pack hammering away at our line. We just about held the charging Zebras out but they could count themselves unfortunate not to score. It was a much changed maroon and whites from that were on the road at Creighton last week but the lads that stepped in all showed up well. A team skipper Pete Jennens normally a back row was helping out at hooker and Corey Doughty and Jack Osten were working hard. Once again normal centre Chris Burns was operating in the back row and as well as doing well in the line out and putting in a grafting shift. We took the lead a little against the run of play 25 mins in. It was through an individual effort from classy scrum half Jonathan Mahon who after distributing the ball crisply all game this time showed a great dummy to shoot through a gap and touch down from 30 metres out. The conversion was too far out in the wind and the score remained 5- 0 at half time.

The game followed a similar pattern into the second half we were starved of the ball for varying reasons but continued to show workmanlike commitment. However 15 mins in it was Workington who scored the try their play deserved. Good handling and offloading in the tackle got the ball out to their winger to touch down wide out. The conversion was missed and soon after the Workington fly half just missed a 35 metre penalty attempt.5 – 5.

At this point Workington could have gone on to win but we had enough experience out on the park to rally the troops. The ever consistent second row Chris Thompson skipper Andy Kent and fellow front row Scott Dobbie all showing up well. At this point we played our youth policy card introducing 50 something Mr Martin Kennedy who immediately looked one of the fittest players. Centre George Hilton was another helping the club out playing his first game for some time and he and fellow centre Luke Harrison combined well 30 mins into the second half to allow strong running No 8 Matty Sayle to make a good clean break and get us into the Workington half to set up a chance for a score. Sayle was eventually to win the Man of the Match and it was he who showed the determination to force his way over from close range after the pack had set up the platform.

Workington through everything at us winger Keenan Cotton and replacement prop Lewis Phillips put in crucial tackles and the game could have gone either way. However in the last minute we settled things with a third try. Workington were attacking well into our half when the ball came loose. Matty Sayle put in a great clearing kick with the wind which ended up close to the Workington line, brother Lewis another to have a fine game put in a copy book tackle and when the ball went loose winger Rodney Odondi who had been starved of possession gratefully pounced on the ball for a try much to the relieve of all his teammates. Influential fly half somehow managed to add the conversion in the worsening conditions. Final Score 17 – 5.
A tough trip to unbeaten Upper Eden awaits next week.

John Horne
Hawcoat Park RU

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