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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Kells win cup for the tenth time!

KELLS won the Iggesund BARLA Cumbria County Cup Final for a record 10th time when they beat Glasson Rangers 42-4 at Copeland Stadium.

After the disappointment of losing the Iggesund Cumberland ARL First Division play-off final to Distington, it was a perfect way to respond and round-off the season.

They will be able to defend the County Cup next season, although their league efforts will be concentrated on the National Conference League which they have entered for the first time.

The final, which only got the go-ahead following a pitch inspection on the morning of the game, saw underdogs Rangers take a shock 4-0 lead.

However favourites Kells showed their pedigree with some superb running rugby to score four unanswered tries in each half for an emphatic victory.

It was highlighted by a hat-trick of tries from man of the match, second row forward Ryan Watson, son of Whitehaven’s former Kiwi star Dave Watson.

Kells had got off to a nervous start as they knocked on in goal from the kick off which saw them drop out and they were then penalised for a high shot but survived the next set.

Rangers, though, got into their faces and centre Brad Hughes charged down the Kells kick on the last play of the set. He hacked the ball on before it bounced kindly into his hands for him to score in the corner after three minutes.

Kells hit back with two six pointers in five minutes with the first on seven minutes following a fortunate back to back set.

On the third tackle the ball was flicked out to the rushing Watson who drove through defenders to the line and stretched his arm through a hole to score. Then on the last tackle they attacked down the right channel and Steve McCourt and Craig Benson combined to put Connor Holliday in at the corner. Ryan Robb’s magnificent touchline conversion, to add to his earlier kick, made it 12-4.

The Kells pack took control with some strong hits and drives to take them forward and they always looked dangerous with ball in hand.

Rangers’ forwards didn’t have that penetration although halves Nathan Lucock, Gareth Skillen and hooker Mathew Burns gave their all for the side to get back in the game. They were unlucky to have a try chalked off for a forward pass from Skillen.

But double hits from Kells in the last nine minutes of the half and opening four of the second made sure the cup went their way.

On 31 minutes following back to back penalties a quick tap saw Lewis Smith score by the posts and following his chip over the defence by Barry Boyd, Watson was in support to score his second.

Two minutes into the second half Watson completed his hat-trick on his side’s first attack with him on the end of delightful quick handling.

On their next attack Rangers fumbled an angled Boyd grubber and he flicked the ball out to Paul Lowery to drive over for two unconverted tries.

Kells’ seventh try on 50 minutes killed them off as Burns put Scott Lofthouse through a gap to burst 30 metres downfield before he found the supporting Boyd to score under the posts.

This time Louis Wilson added the extras.

Rangers battled gamely on and Brian Patterson couldn’t take a pass out wide with the line beckoning and minutes later on the opposite wing they had another chance but couldn’t take the pass.

The final word went to Kells with a try started and finished by Robb. From the play, he found the impressive Smith, whose pass allowed Lofthouse to break away through the tired Rangers defence.

He unselfishly passed inside to Robb to score and the half-back kicked his fifth goal.

KELLS: 1. Lewis Smith, 2. Connor Holliday, 3. Craig Benson, 4. Scott Lofthouse, 5. Reece O’Neill, 6. Ryan Robb, 7. Steve McCourt, 8. Dave Lowery, Bradley Smith, 10. Gary Smith, 11. Paul Lowery, 12. Ryan Watson, 13. Tony Burns. Subs: 14. Ross Gainford, 15. Ben Milburn, 16. Louis Wilson, 17. Barry Boyd

Tries: Watson 7, 39, 42, Holliday 12, Smith 31, P Lowery 44, Boyd 50, Robb 68,

Goals: Robb4/5, Wilson 1/2, Boyd 0/1

GLASSON RANGERS: 1. Greg Rowley, 2. Grant Murdy, 3. Dean Scholey, 4. Brad Hughes, 5. Dean Petrie, 6. Nathan Lucock, 7. Gareth Skillen, 8. Barry Goodfellow, 9. Mathew Burns, 10. Lee Hodgson, 11. Dan Fryer, 12. Mathew Johnson, 13. Dan Rourke. Subs: 14. Brian Patterson, 15. Jordan Kerr, 16. Keenan Winter, 17. Garry Tierney.

Tries: Hughes 3,

Goals: Hughes 0/1

Half Time: 24-4

Referee: David Askew

Touch Judges: Lee MacDonald, Peter Wharton

Man of the match: Ryan Watson (Kells)

Attendance: 300


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