Keswick 2nds 40 Southport 2nds 0
By Allan Lambert
A Good Home Win
A confident Keswick 2nd XV took the field at Davidson Park on Saturday to play Southport 2nd XV. Although Southport were 6 points ahead in the County Courier Services League and had won the match at their ground in September, Keswick had 2 games in hand and were an improved side. Will Addyman, fresh from captaining Cumbria U18s and now selected for the North of England U18 squad, started at No8.
Keswick kicked off deep, quickly regaining possession and attacking on the Southport 22 where they won a penalty which Paul Ireland slotted for a very early 3-0 lead. Attacking again from the restart, Keswick gifted possession and a penalty to allow Southport to get into the Keswick half. Winning their line-out on the Keswick 22 Southport kicked through and a knock-on gave them the put-in to the first scrum, back on the Keswick 22. The ascendancy of the Keswick scrum was apparent immediately as they took the ball against the head and kicked to clear.
Both sides attacked when they had the ball but were let down by their ball handling skills and as the early penalty count favoured the home side, Keswick spent much of the first quarter in the Southport half of the field. It was during this period that backchat and an extra 10 metres at a penalty allowed Ireland to put Keswick 6-0 up with an excellent kick from the away side 10 metre line. Further attacks by Keswick through the forwards were met with stiff resistance and a counter attack saw Southport kick the ball through for a chase to the try line which was won by Keswick for a 22 drop out.
More Southport indiscipline saw Keswick back into the Southport 22 where, despite having failed to find touch from a penalty, they regained possession only to be let down again by poor handling for a Southport scrum on their 5 metre line. Southport saw out this short period of pressure but as half time approached Keswick put together an attack that crossed the field in the opposition 22 four times before Daniel Allaker forced his way across for an unconverted try, 11-0 as Keswick’s slight advantage in all but line-outs started to tell. There was just time before the whistle went for half time for Ireland to extend the lead to 14-0 from another penalty.
It was all even from the start of the second half until from a line-out on half-way Keswick ran the ball and from the third phase Danny Price ran through a couple of tackles before evading the chasing defenders to score a try to the right of the posts, converted by Ireland for 21-0 on 50 minutes. The next Keswick attack saw the ball cross the line but good defence by Southport prevented grounding for a 5 metre scrum. From the scrum Keswick attacked through the middle for Josh Dare to score by the posts, again converted by Ireland to go 28-0 up.
As the half continued both sides attacked with the Southport backs looking good and their forwards having the better of the line-outs, but being let down by their penalty count, mostly for offside at the breakdown. It was generally Keswick’s forwards driving well at the breakdown and making the ground that put Southport offside, with the Keswick the backs running the ball wide when the opportunity was there. One line-out Keswick did win was run round the front but poor handling and a knock-on gave Southport the scrum feed which they used to clear.
The next line-out was won against the throw by Keswick and the ball run infield where from the breakdown Danny Price again found his way through the defence to touch down under the posts, Ireland again providing the extras for 35-0 on 35 minutes. Down to 14 men now through injury, Southport had been stuck in their own half for much of the last quarter with Keswick’s last score coming from James Sant, on the receiving end of the final pass for a try to take the score to 40 points, this time with the conversion attempt coming back off the upright.
With the win in the bag it was now Keswick’s turn to give away consecutive penalties to allow Southport to camp on the 5 metre line where they attacked hard and Keswick gave away more penalties. Just as the supporters were anticipating that the next infringement would be accompanied by a penalty try, or a yellow card at least, Southport transgressed and a tap and kick to touch brought the final whistle.
On Saturday the 2nd XV travel to Fleetwood, below them in the table but not to be underestimated. The home fixture in October was a win for Keswick by 8 points which shows that Fleetwood have potential despite their recent poor form and their wins this season have been at home.