Report from Upper Eden game

Upper Eden (54) v Hawcoat Park (0)

Saturday 13th April, 2019

The maroon and whites brought the curtain down on what has been a frustrating season with a heavy defeat away at Kirkby Stephen based Upper Eden. A chilly wind blew down the pitch otherwise it was a perfect day for a game of rugby. Playing up the slight hill and against the wind we started very well. Back rower Lee Van Haren was prominent in the early exchanges but unfortunately had to leave the game after 5 minutes with a broken finger leaving an already stretch squad further depleted.

Captain George Smith had an outstanding game setting the example for his team to attempt to run the ball at every opportunity in an attempt to counter the same approach always played by the impressive young pacey and mobile Upper Eden side.

Despite some good handling we were never quite capable of stretching the ball out to our wingers with good quality ball against the well organised home sides defence. Centre Lewis Sayle was to go on to have another good game and was running well. Eden slowly but surely got into the game their strong running No 8 was causing problems and they were stretching the ball in both directions well. Brad Morrow and Rory Sayle were putting in a good hardworking shift to try and counter the strong running and good movement and handling shown by the home side. After a good spell of pressure mid way through the half it came as no surprise when they scored their first try moving the ball at pace for the winger to touch down, 7 – 0. It was all Upper Eden at this stage and despite not seeing much quality ball in their hands both wingers Jack Lord and Rodney Odondi were called upon to make some good try saving cover tackles at regular intervals.

After 30 minutes Eden added their second try when after good handling and support play their back row forced his way over for a try which was well converted, 14 – 0.

As always Paul Woodburn was running the ball in strongly and was well supported by fellow front rows, Vice captain Andy Kent and Adam Grainger which set the platform for some good handling efforts but again we could not break down the organised Eden defence.

Half time 14 – 0, which playing up the hill and against the wind was a good effort.

However, with limited replacements options on a firm pitch and warm day it was an effort which took its toll in the second period which was all Upper Eden.

Thye added six further trys at regular intervals as fatigue clearly set in we were falling off tackles as Eden’s confidence grew and ‘they smelt blood’ running the ball at every possible opportunity against a tired looking defence. All but one of the trys were converted and that one miss hit the post to give a final score of 54 – 0.

Often heard from spectators to referees is the call ‘did you come on their bus’ in this instance it was the case as Ciaran Trainer travelled with us to the game and handled the game well in his usual sensible way.

John Horne

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