Keswick 29 Upper Eden 10
By Allan Lambert
Cup Quarter Final Win
Keswick 29 Upper Eden 10
Keswick Rugby Club Old Boys attending the annual lunch on Saturday were treated to 2 excellent games of rugby as well as the traditional tatie pot courtesy of Jeremy Hall. With only 3 replacements available to share between the 2 teams it was as well that both games were at home. The 1st XV kicked off against Upper Eden in the quarter final of the Cumbria League Cup. Despite finishing in the bottom half of the table Upper Eden proved to be a handful, their young backs proving particularly threatening in attack and defending well.
Two minutes in Keswick took an early lead as Ryan Weir made a mazy run on the left, dancing through a few defenders to give Keswick a 5-0 lead, the conversion going wide. Shortly afterwards Weir made another good run down the wing but this time the defence held. Upper Eden countered, their full back, Sam Edgar, making his own excellent break on the right before chipping through to win the chase to the touch down, levelling the scores at 5-5 on 8 minutes, the conversion missed.
Upper Eden followed this up with some more good attacks, bringing their fullback into the line to create overlaps and kicking for position when that ploy failed. One such from a line-out got to within feet of the Keswick try line but the defence held solid until a penalty for not releasing allowed Keswick some respite. A good attack by Keswick just inside the opposition half saw Aaron Thompson make progress before James Benson carried forward then released Weir to score his second try, again unconverted for 10-5 on 14 minutes.
Once more Upper Eden came back, gaining another penalty but the attempted conversion went wide. Keswick responded with their own attacks, one on the left looking promising but possession was lost and the scrum allowed Upper Eden to clear. Giving away penalties on Keswick’s put in the scrums, Upper Eden countered on their own feed by using a quick heel down channel one to good effect, picking up at the back to put Keswick on the defensive.
Excellent interplay on 32 minutes between George Holme, Josh Graves and Matty Newton on the right ended with the ball passed back inside to Jamie Mckenzie who crossed from short range for a try converted by Andy Muir to take the lead out to 17-5 where it stayed to half time. The Upper Eden pack may have been under pressure from the Keswick forwards, but their number 8 was proving a handful and the backs were asking questions of the Keswick defence whenever they had the ball.
The second half started with a great run by Thompson from 40 metres, stopped 10 metres out, but the ball was recycled and Weir passed it to Graves who scored to extend the lead further, 22-5 as the conversion was missed. Upper Eden waited only a few minutes before their number 8 Cameron Dickinson picked up from the back of the scrum and ran left for Edgar to make good ground and chip through for Alastair Civil to win the chase to the touchdown but the conversion was missed, 22-10.
Good line-out play, Carrick Wharmby catching well, saw Keswick forwards give good possession to the backs who in turn made good use of the ball, but were thwarted by a well organised Upper Eden team, always ready to turn defence into attack. However when Upper Eden did put in an attack they in turn found the Keswick defence not wanting. Both teams had ball retention difficulties at times, with penalties for not releasing but more often the ball lost forward in the tackle. Upper Eden’s counterattacks reduced the opportunity for Keswick to slot their fullback into the line when trying to create an overlap.
As the last few minutes approached Benson was replaced by Jake Winter and Muir by Lewis Thompson, both of whom had featured in the 2nd XV game, Winter scoring a try and Thompson a conversion. With less than 2 minutes left a Keswick penalty was kicked to the corner where Wharmby won the line-out and as the pack mauled the ball to the line, Winter at the back scored his second try of the day, in his second game and Thompson converted, as he already had for the 2nd XV, with the whistle going on a 29-10 win for Keswick in the cup quarter-final. Next opponents will be Cockermouth in the semi-final this Saturday at Davidson Park.