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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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St Benedict’s end the year on a winning note

ST Benedict’s ended 2012 on a winning note as they picked-up an excellent 26-12 in North Lancs Cumbria at Heaton Moor.

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in the melee: Whitehaven faced a heavy defeat against Eccles

It was pretty even for the first 15 minutes with both sides having their moments. Gavin Maudling was nearest for Benny’s, tackled two yards short.

Heaton Moor took the lead when a long kick was fielded by a pacey winger who went over for an unconverted try.

Then Benny’s took over, dominating the game for the next 20 minutes, scoring two tries in that time.

Hooker Kristian Wood was first to go over for the equalising try after half-backs Kyle Hiddleston and Jamie Doran had opened-up the home defence.

Then when Craig Halligan caught a Heaton Moor kick he went past two defenders before feeding Maudling and some quick hands ended with Hiddleston putting Daniel Appleton in for a try which Kristian Wood converted.

Benny’s continued to force the pace at the start of the second-half and Wood barged his way over after taking a quick tap penalty. He added the conversion for a 19-5 lead.

The bonus point try came on 65 minutes when the lively Hiddleston, Benny’s man of the match, darted down the blindside to score in the corner and Wood added a fine touchline conversion.

Heaton Moor had the best of the last 15 minutes but Benny’s hard-tackling defence held out until three minutes from time when their hosts scored a converted try.

Benny’s had travelled to Stockport with a young squad, nine of them 21 or under, and they gave senior debuts to teenage replacements Reece Lancaster and Adam Dutton, who performed with distinction on the wings.

Brian Story earned Keswick a bonus point at Littleborough with a last minute penalty – his fourth of the game in a 19-12 defeat.

The Cumbrians had played into the wind and up the slope in the first-half, so only turning round 12-9 behind gave them confidence they could change things in their favour.

But they had travelled with a depleted squad and were short of weight in the pack so that the home side’s much bigger pack started to boss things up front.

They had gone ahead with a push-over try, which was converted but Story put Keswick on the board with a penalty. A second home try followed but before the break Story gave his side heart with two more successful penalties.

It actually stayed 12-9 until the 78th minute when Littleborough scored a second push-over try. But Keswick rallied and from the last play of the game they were awarded a penalty which Story knocked-over to earn the point.

Whitehaven made a good start at Eccles but finished-up on the wrong end of a 36-0 score-line.

For the first 20 minutes Whitehaven were the better side but heads seemed to drop when Stephen McConnell missed two opportunities to put the Cumbrians ahead from kickable penalties.

It was an interception try which set Eccles on their way and they added a second from a five metre pushover. A third try, along with two conversions, meant they lead 19-0 at the break.

But they weren’t helped by two back injuries for scrum-half Luke Thompson and forward Mike Parkinson as they only had one replacement. It meant they played the closing stages of the first-half with just 14 men and also the whole of the second period.

Eccles scored three more tries, one of them from another five-metres push-over but this time converted only one.

Thompson had been having a very good game up to his retirement but Whitehaven’s man of the match was John Rome, who started in the centre and finished in the pack. His tackling and effectiveness at winning turnover ball was quite outstanding.

Egremont are deep in relegation trouble and they went down 40-0 at Upper Eden, who occupy the final relegation slot – third from bottom. They have three more points than Didsbury Toc H, the only side below them in the table. Didsbury’s game at leaders Wigton was postponed.

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