Keswick move back into second spot

Date: Friday 19th January 2018

KESWICK found themselves under pressure from a fired-up Hawcoat Park for the first few minutes of thier North Lancs./Cumbria League fixture, before they found their rhythm and applied pressure of their own.

KESWICK 41,

HAWCOAT PARK 7

A pattern of play emerged, with both teams running the ball, either wide through the backs, or with close supporting play by the forwards. Attacks were dented and the ball turned over, followed by kicks to clear lines and gain field position.

An 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 after 17 minutes.

Good Keswick possession followed, but the Hawcoat lineout was functioning well and they were winning all their own put-ins to recover possession whenever the ball went into touch.

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 full back 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 restart kick by Hawcoat was caught by McKenzie who immediately attacked, handing off two defenders and making straight for the line. Tackled by two more defenders as he got close, he was still able to cross and touch down near the posts for a converted try and a 17-0 lead.

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 was the third such tackle, the offending player was shown a yellow card.

A promising attack by the visitors 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 lineout, 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 showing a Keswick player a yellow card for a high tackle.

The half-time whistle went with the score 17-7.

Keswick put pressure on from the kick-off, 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 eight 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.

Despite the number of points the visitors had leaked, their defence functioned well and prevented clean possession for Keswick, disrupting the lineout 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 touchdown saw the “try” disallowed when the last pass was judged to have been forward.

Opting for a scrum instead of a kick at a five-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 for a 29-lead.

From the kick-off, an exchange of four kicks ended with a kick to touch and Hawcoat Park lost their first lineout. 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.

A penalty kick to the corner and a good lineout take was run through the backs for a touchdown 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 40-metre run from a scrum was stopped by Hawcoat close to the line. From the subsequent scrum, the ball was passed to Weir who ran through to score by the posts. The conversion attempt was an unsuccessful drop kick and was followed by the final whistle.

The result moves Keswick back into second place in the league table, behind Aspatria, with one game in hand. They have two games in hand over third placed Tarleton. Today they travel to eighth-placed Aldwinians.

KESWICK II 17,

WIGTON II 19

Keswick II went down 17-19 at home to Wigton II who they had beaten away from home earlier in the season.

In a proverbial game of two halves, Keswick found themselves 12-0 down at half-time.

They turned this around in the second half to take the lead with tries by Dan Sant, Lawler and Bagnall, the last one coming in the final minutes of the game.

From the last restart, Keswick decided to run the ball when a kick to touch might have ended the game. Wigton were able to overturn possession and score a try themselves to take the spoils, with the final whistle being blown as soon as the conversion was complete.

Wigton now top the league, with Keswick fourth.

Today Keswick II are at home to Greengarth.