Keswick defeat Hawcoat Park
Excellent solo try by Jamie Mckenzie
On Saturday 13 January Keswick Rugby Club played 2 home games, with the first XV playing Hawcoat Park from Barrow and the second XV playing Wigton. The playing conditions were excellent with a slight wind across the pitches. The first XV found themselves under pressure from a fired-up Hawcoat Park for the first few minutes before they found their rhythm and put their own pressure on. Both sides conceded early penalties but none within kicking range. A pattern of play emerged with both sides running the ball, either wide through the backs, or with close supporting play by the forwards. Attacks were dented and the ball turned over with both sides then kicking to clear their lines and gain field position.
An attacking kick by Weir came to nothing when the ball went dead, with the riposte by Hawcoat getting them to within a few metres of the Keswick line before being tackled into touch. Another exchange of kicks ended when a kick through by Roper was hacked on by Wallace who was first to the ball over the line on the Keswick left to score an unconverted try, 5-0 after 17minutes. Good Keswick possession followed but the Hawcoat line-out was functioning well and they were winning all their own put in to recover possession whenever the ball went into touch. A number of penalties to Keswick followed but each attack was ended by good defensive play. The Hawcoat scrum was no match for Keswick’s but they were generally able to hook quickly and attack through their backs. One clearance kick from the scrum was caught by Wallace at fullback who ran forward, chipped ahead, hacked again and was first to the ball across the line once more, for a 10-0 lead after 27 minutes, the conversion being missed.
The restart kick by Hawcoat was caught by McKenzie who immediately attacked, handing off 2 defenders and making straight for the line. Tackled by 2 more defenders as he got close he was still able to cross and touch down near the posts for a converted try, 17-0 after 29 minutes. It is unusual for the receiving side to score direct from a kick off and even rarer for only one player to handle the ball; this was an excellent solo try. The exchange of kicks continued from the restart and after a clearance kick by Hawcoat they gave away a penalty for a high tackle when the Keswick backs attacked back from deep. As this as the third such tackle the offending player was yellow carded. A promising attack by Hawcoat saw them advance almost the length of the pitch before they were stopped. From the resulting scrum they were unlucky not to score with the the final pass judged to have been forward. Advantage was being played and from the resulting touch kick and line-out a strong attack was stopped on the line and Hawcoat recycled to be denied again in the corner by good Keswick defence. However, the referee had been playing advantage and awarded a penalty try as well as yellow carding a Keswick player for a high tackle. 17-7 and the half time whistle went.
Keswick put pressure on from the kickoff but too often lost possession either through a knock on or in the resulting ruck after a tackle. A penalty attempt by Muir was missed with 8 minutes gone but shortly after, a pick up from the scrum by Moss was taken on by Roper and run out through Muir to Ray who scored the bonus point try under the posts, converted by Muir, 24-7. Good attacking play by Hawcoat was unable to produce points for them and their eventual kicks were run back. Despite the number of points they had leaked, the Hawcoat Park defence functioned well and prevented clean possession for Keswick, disrupting the line-out and despite being pushed back, winning their own scrum put in. A quick throw in by Keswick and a 40 yard run by Vaillant for a touch down was disallowed when the last pass was judged to have been forward.
Opting for a scrum instead of a kick at a 5 metre penalty Keswick won clean possession and drove forward allowing Roper to pick up from the back, evade a tackle and score an unconverted try in the corner, 29-7 with 24 minutes gone. From the kickoff an exchange of 4 kicks ended with a kick to touch and Hawcoat Park losing their first line-out. From a knock forward Keswick were awarded a scrum on the opposition 10 metre line. Captain Thompson picked up from the back, threw a dummy pass and ran 40 metres to score a converted try close to the posts, 36-7 after 29 minutes.
A penalty kick to the corner and a good line-out take was run through the backs for a touch down by Keswick close to the posts, but being unsighted the referee awarded an attacking scrum instead of a try. More good attacks by Keswick followed before a good 40 metre run from a scrum was stopped by Hawcoat close to the line. From the subsequent scrum the ball was passed to the Weir who ran through to score by the posts. The conversion attempt was a drop kick but was unsuccessful and was followed by the final whistle so Keswick ran out winners by 41-7. The result moves Keswick back to second in the league, behind Aspatria, with one game in hand and with 2 games in hand over third placed Tarleton. The next game is on Saturday away at Aldwinians who are currently 8th.