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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Home defeat for Netherhall

NETHERHALL were beaten 37-3 at Maryport by a well-drilled, well-organised Eccles team in North Lancs Cumbria.

Netherhall made the worst start when they kicked off and the Eccles number eight raced right down the middle and fed the centre to score under the posts. The scrum-half put over the conversion.

Netherhall’s one-up tackling was terrible and every time the visitors got the ball they made lots of yards.

As usual Jonathan Burnyeat was working tirelessly in both attack and defence but this could not stop the defensive lapses.

It only got worse for the home side when they conceded two more quick tries which were both converted to make it 21-0.

At last the home team forced their way into the Eccles’ 22 when Mark Orchard burst through a gap and fed Lee Towers.

A ruck was formed and Jamie Nicholson darted down the blind side only to have the referee catch the visitors offside. Liam Vickers put over the penalty to make it 21-3.

Ross Tinkler was yellow carded for a high tackle and the Eccles scrum-half put over the penalty quickly followed by another to make it 27-3 at half-time.

Netherhall stuck at it and good tackling by Tony Nicholson and Vickers stopped the Eccles attacks.

With 20 minutes to go Andrew Patterson was yellow carded and Mark Orchard red carded and the same punishment was handed out to two Eccles players.

Eccles’ scrum-half kicked the penalty and their huge prop forced his way over in the last seconds to score a try which was converted.

The only other Cumbrian sides to play were Upper Eden who lost 14-7 at Heaton Moor and Kirkby Lonsdale who were at home to Oldham and won 34-7.

Only one game was played in the Cumbria League as four grounds were passed unfit for play.

The main pitch at Grasmoor was waterlogged so Cockermouth’s match with Aspatria Eagles was played on The Hump.

That traditionally stands up well to inclement weather and this was the case for the majority of the first half, even though the rain continued to fall.

Cockermouth took the initiative and played with high intensity through powerful driving by the forwards before the ball was quickly released to the backline.

This provided a good platform from which they went on to take control and score three first half tries.

The first try came after only five minutes when a cleanly taken lineout was driven on, before Luke Reeson went down the blind side to score. Andrew Skillen converted.

Cockermouth thought they had scored a couple more times but were brought back for forward passes.

The Eagles worked hard in defence to repel strong runs by Andrew Renney and Reeson.

Then, midway through the half, they could do nothing to stop Reeson scoring his second try when the forwards secured the ball from 10 metres out and drove over the try line for 12-0.

Just before half-time Sean Ackerley took a short pass to sprint through a gap in the visitor’s defence to score near the posts. Skillen converted for 19-0.

As the second half started the rain had started to take its toll not only on the players but even on The Hump which struggled and became a mud bath, making flowing rugby almost impossible.

It would have been very easy for the Eagles to capitulate and end up on the wrong end of a big score but, to their credit, they worked tirelessly and took the game to Cockermouth.

Their willingness to run the ball at every opportunity must be applauded.

In contrast to the first half, it was Cockermouth who had to defend in earnest. Guy Jeffries playing his first game on the flank, Wayne Kavanagh along with his second row partner Reeson all put in sterling performances to help keep the Eagles at bay.

No points were added in the second half so Cockermouth got back to winning ways with a 19-0 victory.

Aspatria stayed in relegation territory in North One West when they lost 29-16 at home to New Brighton.

But it had started well enough for the Black Reds as they built-up a 9-0 lead through three Steven Stoddart penalties.

Before the break, however, New Brighton had reduced the deficit to a single point with a penalty themselves and an unconverted try.

The visitors’ try was a contentious issue because Aspatria felt the game should have restarted with a 22-metre drop-out after a close call in the touch-in-goal area, but the referee gave a five-metre scrum from which they scored.

A penalty right at the start of the second period pushed New Brighton ahead for the first time and soon afterwards they scored a try – and from that position never looked back.

Aspatria had tried to keep the ball alive deep in their own half but only succeeded, under pressure, in popping the ball-up for the New Brighton winger to nip in and collect and race round to score by the posts.

After that New Brighton continued to build on their lead and added two penalties and an unconverted try.

Aspatria did score again but it was much too late in the game to affect the outcome as Lee Tinnion sliced through for a try which Stoddart converted.

Coach Mark Richardson said: “I’m afraid it was another of those games which we could and should have won. I thought we did well in the first half, and our defence was a lot better throughout, but once again our discipline was very poor.

“We gave away far too many penalties and lost two players to the sin bin at various times.

“The ill discipline is costing us dearly.”

Jacques Rowe and David Hums were the stand-out performers in the back-row for the Black Reds while the lively Jack Clegg did well at scrum-half.

New full-back, 17-year-old Kristian Borthwick also did well but was forced to retire 15 minutes from the end with a broke finger which will keep him out for at least a couple of weeks.

Fixtures – North One West: Northwich v Aspatria.

North Lancs Cumbria: Furness v Netherhall, Keswick v St Benedict’s, Oldham v Workington, Wigton v Aldwinians.

Cumbria: Aspatria Eagles v Creighton, Moresby v Millom, Whitehaven v Gosforth Greengarth, Wigton Wanderers v Egremont, Workington Steelers v Cockermouth.

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