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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Cumbria under-20s lose opening clash

CUMBRIA lost their opening game in the new-style under-20s championship when they went down 32-14 to Cheshire at Workington.

The visitors made the better start and by half-time had established an 18-0 lead before Cumbria improved in the second-half, sharing the points-scoring with their opponents.

Cumbrian coaches Chris Hayton, Dan Bowman and Simon Mulholland had done a good job with the squad over the last six weeks, team-work was more cohesive and effect-ive as the game went on.

Cheshire had been together working with their coaches for three months and it showed, particularly early on when they looked the better-drilled side.

Kevin Johnston, chairman of Club Cumbria, said: “I think that was the key factor, the fact that they had been together as a group for longer and they made the better start. Our lads will continue to train each weekend until the next match with Lancashire at Liverpool St Helens on February 26.”

Cumbria kicked away too much ball in the first half and also kicked directly into touch. They missed two crucial one-on-one tackles and didn’t protect the ball going in to contact.

After about 15 minutes of the second half the hosts got their act together as they held onto the ball, started to exert continuous pressure and started driving together.

They protected the ball which led to the two tries, both from forward drives after pressure and scored by Burnage flanker George Birtle and Keswick replacement Andy Muir. Workington’s Sam Carter converted both.

During the game, and particularly the second half there was some great driving by Birtle, Muir, captain Matt Houghton (Kendal), James Ravell (Aspatria) and Ryan Feeney (Penrith).

In the backs there was some strong running from Sandy Kerridge (Penrith), Sam Pearson (Upper Eden) and Will Miller (Silloth), with a special mention for Moresby’s Dan Rowell, who put in some strong running and tackling after coming on from the bench.

Kevin Johnston said: “I’d like to say a special word for the likes of Miller and Rowell from the Silloth and Moresby clubs. I think it’s great that some of our smaller clubs, like these two, have backed the county squad and supplied two very promising young players.”

Wirral stand-off Tom Bills had kicked two penalties in the seventh and 13th minutes and soon afterwards converted the opening try by Altrincham Kersal full-back Callum Yates. But Cheshire didn’t score again until the 34th minute when Lymm replacement Mike Floyd went in for an unconverted try.

Harry Broadbent scored a try three minutes after the re-start, converted by Bills and Cumbria looked to be staring down both barrels when skipper Sam Mullarkey went over on 50 minutes and Bills again converted.

Cumbria rallied well and dominated the final quarter of the game with Birtle going over on 65 minutes and Muir getting in four minutes from the end. Carter converted both.

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