Incisive attack and solid defence pays dividends

Date: Friday 19th January 2018

PREVIOUS visits to Workington over the years have rarely brought success for Upper Eden, but on this occasion they put in a superb display of both attacking and defensive rugby to record their best result of the season so far.



The early exchanges were fairly even until Eden’s outweighed and mainly youthful forwards showed excellent technique with a rolling maul which gained them fully 30 yards.

The backs then made their presence felt with a couple of sweeping moves which ended when winger Jay Elliott was stopped just short in the corner.

Workington were pinned in their own 22 for a long spell and perseverance paid off for the visitors when back row Lee Alderson finished off another good move with a try near the posts, converted by skipper Dan Todd.

Straight from the restart the hosts put in their first attack of the game and, despite some good defensive tackling, they eventually won a penalty to put points on the board.

Eden soon reasserted themselves with a classic try straight out of the coaching manual. From a scrum on halfway, scrum half Ben Alderson’s initial break paved the way for winger Alastair Civil to make good ground down the right flank before slipping an inside pass to full back Sam Edgar who sprinted in for a converted try.

Workington immediately replied with another penalty goal, but the visitors regained control and almost scored with a lovely move which saw the ball pass through many pairs of hands before the final pass was judged marginally forward.

After a similar attack had been stopped just short, Eden won a five-metre lineout and the forwards stepped up to the mark with a well controlled rolling maul which grafted its way over the try line for Lee Alderson to touch down, giving his side a 19-6 lead at half-time.

The home side showed real determination after the break with a long spell of possession, but made little progress in the face of some equally determined tackling by Upper Eden.

Having eventually regained possession, the visitors broke strongly downfield to win an attacking lineout and this time the forward drive was more direct, carrying over for try number four, touched down by hooker Tom Mooney and converted by Todd.

Another spell of possession came Workington’s way, but again they were shut down by some fierce tackling from Upper Eden who won the ball back and countered down the right. Excellent handling saw Civil take the final pass and beat the cover defence with a scorching run which took him to an excellent converted try.

The visitors were well on top at this stage and, with play in their opponents’ territory, a minor fracas took place along with a yellow card for a home forward after James Birkbeck was taken out off the ball.

Workington survived two five-metre lineouts and a bulldozing run by Eden second row Dan Dent, but there was to be no escape even when possession briefly changed hands. From a ruck close to the goal-line, the ball popped out into no man’s land and Ben Alderson accepted the gift and nipped over unopposed for his side’s sixth try, well converted by Todd.

Playing with renewed spirit, Workington then put in their best spell of the game in a last-ditch revival and for more than five minutes they hammered away inside the visitors’ 10-metre zone.

Eden’s tackling was again outstanding despite giving away penalties, but eventually they were forced to concede a well deserved consolation try.

Their performance could hardly be faulted in what was by no means a walkover. The two sides shared roughly equal amounts of possession overall and Workington’s pack had clear supremacy in the set scrums, but it was Eden’s incisive attack and solid defence which won the day.

Eden’s man of the match was young winger Alastair Civil who put in an outstanding performance on his debut for the first team.

Upper Eden are without a game today as their Cumbria League Cup game against Cockermouth has been postponed. Next Saturday they are at home to Millom in a league fixture.