Lancashire’s superb victory over Cumbria after their trek to Askam ARLFC sets up a winner takes all in the Under 17’s BARLA Tri Series with a ‘War of the Roses’ clash when Yorkshire travel over to Wigan St Patricks this coming Sunday for game 3.
Albeit a draw will see Lancashire retain the title who have a +6 points difference after their ten try 48-0 victory after leading 26-0 at half time. In an outstanding team performance Lancashire’s Nico Rizzelli (Mayfield Mustangs) who went over for a hat-trick was named man of the match.
Cumbria’s players never let their heads drop but their cause in the first half wasn’t helped by dropped balls early in tackle counts deep in their own half which put Lancashire on the front foot.
The first example of this came when they lost the ball on the second tackle deep in their own half. From the resulting scrum quick hands down the left saw second row forward Lewis Martin (Blackbrook Royals) score after 45 seconds, Gary McMahon (Wigan St Judes) who went onto kick four from nine, missed his opening conversion.
Cumbria got three back to back penalties to attack the Lancashire line but the visitors showed an example of their steely defence which continued for the whole seventy minutes.
After 11 minutes Cumbria again lost the ball which was picked up in a flash and Rizzelli went over for a six pointer. Cumbria went close when halfbacks Kier Shepherd (Askam) and Sam Curwen (Wath Brow Hornets) combined, following that they again lost the ball and winger Ben Legge (Newton Storm) dived over in the corner to make it 14-0 on 20 minutes.
The visitors continued taking the game to their hosts with two converted tries in two minutes, Rizzelli crossing again on 24 minutes and on the next set Sam Favell (Shevington Sharks) finishing off a great move.
Curwen had a great chance on half time but lost the ball driving for the line and it stayed at 26-0.
The ‘Red Rose’ attack continued with its momentum over Cumbria attacking down the left channel as winger Jake Swash (Widnes Moorfield) crossed for a double and on 50 minutes Rizzelli completed his treble after more superb running and handling by the Lancashire backs as they led 40-0.
It looked even bleaker for Cumbria when they had a player sinbinned but they held out spiritedly during that period with great defence keeping their line intact.
That effort saw the home side visibly tire as they regained equal parity once again and the closing stages saw them concede two tries in the final ten minutes
Following a penalty hooker Adam Carr (Wigan St Judes) drive over from close range and on the last set of the game following another penalty Legge completed his double. Tom Goulding (Widnes Moorfield) conversion went to the left of the posts and moments later the final whistle sounded.
Lancashire Head Coach Kevin Johnson
“We didn’t under estimate Cumbria, I watched them two weeks ago and they are always tough at home and at half-time leading twenty six nil we talked about keeping them scoreless. The big talk was not to let them in.
“I thought all seventeen were very good, whoever we took off the replacement did the same good job, it was all controlled the forwards laid the platform and if they hadn’t we wouldn’t have been able to do anything on the back of it.
“I think it’s going to be a tough game next week the war of the roses the old classic but we’ve been in this position before, don’t rest on our laurels we just go at it, we’ll look at the video see where we made our mistakes.”
Steve Hartle Cumbria Head Coach,
“It was a tough day at the office for us, I thought Lancashire were excellent from start to finish and their defence was superb. We were just beaten by the better side today.
“Ball control was a big thing for us, today we dropped the ball quite a bit but I thought after they scored their first try we got back into the game and looked pretty promising. But we fell away again but if you don’t control the ball do you don’t win matches.
“I’m proud of our lads they were fantastic and I can’t knock them one little bit they have been great in the six weeks that we have had them and they have put the effort in today as they did at Yorkshire. From a coaches point of view it’s disappointing, the lads are disappointed but they have worked hard and now need to look to the future stepping up to the nineteen’s.”
CUMBRIA: 1. Zac Olstrum (Ellenborough Rangers), 2. James McCartney (Wath Brow Hornets), 3. Dane Richardson (Wath Brow Hornets), 4. Luke Thompson (Barrow Island), 5. Kai Gilhespy (Ellenborough Rangers), 6. Keir Shepherd (Askam), 7. Sam Curwen (Wath Brow Hornets), 8. Kieren Eldon (Wath Brow Hornets) Capt, 9. Ellison Holgate (Wath Brow Hornets), 10. Elliot Campbell (Barrow Island), 11. Matty Brown (Barrow Island), 12. John Irving (Ellenborough Rangers), 12. Rob Salt (Barrow Island), Subs: 14. Tyler Lancaster (Barrow Island), 15. Joe Power (Wath Brow Hornets), 16. Louis Fearon (Ellenborough Rangers), 17. Alfie Thomas (Barrow Island).
LANCASHIRE: 1. Josh Rourke (Chorley Panthers), 2. Jake Swash (Widnes Moorfield), 3. Nico Rizzelli (Mayfield Mustangs), 4. Joe McSpirit (Thatto Heath Crusaders), 5. Ben Legge (Newton Storm), 6. Jamie Morris (Thatto Heath Crusaders), 7. Josh Yates (Wigan St Patricks), 8. Reagan Garsforth (Waterhead), 9. Adam Carr (Thatto Heath Crusaders), 10. Gary McMahon (Wigan St Judes), 11. Lewis Martin (Blackbrook Royals), 12. Cole Bretherton (Leigh East), 13. Tom Goulding (Widnes Moorfield). Subs: 14. Chris Hull (Thatto Heath Crusaders), 15. Harvey Massey (Leigh East), 16. Sam Favell (Shevington Sharks), 17. Owen Mackie (Newton Storm)
Tries: Martin, Rizzelli 3, Legge 2, Favell, Swash 2, Carr
Goals: McMahon 4/9, Goulding 0/1
Referee: Nathan Johnson
Touch Judges: Terry Bewley, Bob Hewitson
Man of the match: Nico Rizzelli (Lancashire)
BARLA Media Manager