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Job done for Aspatria in play-off chase PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Thursday, 16 February 2017

Gary Hodgson try.jpgAspatria were disappointed with their overall performance at Trafford but it was job done as the 22-10 victory provided the required five points to keep promotion hopes alive. 

Only three weeks ago Trafford  suffered a heavy defeat away at Aspatria and the omens did not look good for them when the visitors took only 37 seconds to open the scoring. 

Matthew Atkinson made the initial charge before Scott Akehurst weaved his way to the try line.  He was felled by a last-ditch tackle but full-back Andrew Miller picked-up the loose ball and scrambled over the line.

The next 79 minutes was all about grinding out a result in cold, damp conditions with a greasy pitch proving treacherous to any runner opting to change direction.

With the game moving into the second quarter the balance of play was an even call with neither side able to gain domination or keep possession for more than a handful of phases. 

On 31 minutes Aspatria botched a clearance attempt and after Trafford made ground a penalty was conceded which allowed he hosts to cut the deficit.

Five minutes later Trafford lost a defender to the sin bin and from the resulting lineout Aspatria mounted another catch and drive.  The quick movement of the ball out of the ensuing ruck gave Atkinson the opportunity to charge at the line, one on one and he got over for the try which was converted by Jack Clegg.

Aspatria opened the second half with a series of attacks and thanks to an excellent chase by the visiting pack prop, James Ravell charged down the centre of the pitch. He linked up with Lee Tinnion who sprinted into the corner to extend the lead.

After 50 minutes the Black Reds looked as though they might regret missed chances as both Ravell and Graeme Andrews were yellow-carded in quick succession.

Trafford took advantage with a flowing backs move that spread the defence across the pitch, resulting in a score by the corner flag and a fine touchline conversion.Richard Millr Aspatra.jpg

Strangely, Aspatria, with two men in the sin bin, began to play some of their best rugby but were back up to strength when they scored the all-important fourth try.

Gary Hodgson put in a mesmerising run to the line from 35 metres out after a line-out around the half-way mark was superbly controlled by Richard Miller.

Workington continue to prop up North Lancs Cumbria, but they manage to end their seven-match losing streak with their best performance of their season.

After a titanic struggle at the Ellis Sports Ground they earned a hard fought 7 - 7 draw with Hawcoat Park.

After just four minutes  a series of scrums pushed Hawcoat's resistance to breaking point before James Watkins crashed over between the sticks for a well-deserved try that Sam Robinson converted.

The lead barely lasted seven minutes as the visitors regrouped and then drew level after producing a series of slick passes that ended with Glen Kaighan darting over and George Smith converting.

Workington tried hard to regain advantage, but on 17 minutes they were dealt a setback were reduced to 14 men after Grant Reid saw yellow for indiscipline.

Hawcoat tried their utmost to make the extra man count, but were frustrated at every turn as the well drilled Zebras rearguard held firm.

For the rest of the first half, there was plenty of feisty midfield action with both sides having a few scoring chances - however, clumsy knock ons and more resolute defence meant that it remained all square at half time.

The second half action was once again largely confined in the middle but eventually Workington stepped up a gear and pressured Hawcoat's defence to the brink, but were unable to break through.

Hawcoat slowly assumed control but they too couldn't generate their advantage into points mainly due to Zebras' dogged tackling.

Jack Clegg action.jpgTen minutes from time, the visitors were down to 14 men themselves after Smith was sinbinned for abusive language towards the referee.

Workington threw everything at them and with the crowd acting as 16th man,  they launched move after move in order to grab the win, but Hawcoat dug deep and to their credit held on to see the game out.

Champion elect Carlisle continued their march to the title with a 41-10 home win over Upper Eden.

They took an early lead after winning a scrum against the head and Matty Roper dived in for the score which James Telford converted.

The visitors played with a lot of intensity in the Carlisle half for the next ten minutes and were justly rewarded with a try and conversion for their efforts.

It wasn’t long before Carlisle got their noses in front again when a penalty infringement at a scrum by the visitors on their 22 metre line was punished by Telford.

Carlisle’s second try came on the half hour mark as a ball fumbled at an Upper Eden throw-in was quickly seized by the Carlisle forwards. Quick ball across the backline put Robbie James over in the right corner.

Upper Eden got on the scoresheet next after a penalty infringement on the Carlisle 22 was converted to bring the score to 15-10 at half-time.

Carlisle started the second half with a lot more purpose and began to dominate possession, although their set piece possession was not turning easily into points. It took them until the 52nd minute before a scrum on the visitors five metre line, allowed replacement number eight Josh Holmes to crash over for the third try.

The fourth try came on the hour mark, as Israel cleverly threaded another ball behind the visitors defence, for his centre partner Dan Holmes to pick up and evade the covering defence.

As the Kirkby Stephen side was beginning to tire, the Carlisle forwards kept hammering away at the visitors defence and prop Henry Furbank got just rewards for a strong performance, by being on the end of a pass from Telford to crash through the tiring defenders near the posts. Telford converted.

There was just enough time for one last try at the end as Josh Holmes secured his second and Carlisle’s sixth try of the game.

Wigton kept their own outside hopes of a play-off spot alive with a 34-7 win at Silloth.

After only eight minute the ball was taken inside to the forwards and a great offload brought the first try with Stuart Creighton touching down between the posts. Gregg Smith converted.

An excellent kick from Smith deep into the Silloth half was fumbled and Jay Henderson picked-up the knock-on to touch down.

From a scrum, in which they were totally dominant all afternoon, Wigton quickly moved the ball out for Stephen Harris to touch down for an unconverted try.

Two minutes later Wigton secured the bonus point try after the forwards drove the Silloth pack backwards and Stuart Creighton touched down for his second.

On the stroke of half time a clever chip over the defence by Dan Reed saw Smith collect the ball for an easy try in the corner and a half-time lead of 27-0.

A few errors started to creep into Wigton’s game in the second half and Silloth seized the opportunity to get themselves back into the game. The Silloth forwards pushed towards the Wigton line and were awarded a try which was converted.

Wigton finally got it together on 65 minutes when Peter Dobson broke through to score Wigton’s sixth and final try which Smith converted.

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