Vags celebrate shield win
PENRITH Vagabonds took on St. Benedict’s Ravens in the Cumbria League 2 play-off final a curtain-raiser to the Cumbria Cup final at Keswick.
PENRITH III 30,
ST. BENEDICT’S II 12
Well organised defences dominated the first 40 minutes. The Vags struggled to create any gaps in the St. Benedict’s back line as, ruck after ruck, the West Cumbrians sacrificed fighting for the ball to fan out and defend against the Penrith back line and strong running forwards of Ben Lydon, Ryan Hunter, John Sealby and Craig Rumney.
The first points came from the boot of Penrith number nine Josh Simpson, who kicked a penalty in front of the posts.
St. Benedict’s were next to score. Following some good work in the forwards, they drove over the Penrith line. The try was converted.
Penrith were unlucky not to score from the restart when top try scorer Alex Jackson lost his grip on the ball as he went over the line following an excellent individual break.
Scott Davidson then managed to create a little space around the ruck and evade the defender to score, and with Simpson converting, Penrith led 10-7 at half-time.
The start of the second half began like the first, with both sides defending resolutely.
A piece of individual skill saw Vags winger Joe Aris create something out of nothing and break down the wing to score, taking two men over the line with him as he put the ball down. The kick was missed, but finally Penrith had put a bit of daylight between themselves and their opponents.
Man of the match Ben Lydon was next to score for Penrith with a strong run in from 10 metres. There was no way he was going to be stopped or held up as he went over the whitewash to give his side a 20-7 lead.
Gaps began to appear in the tiring St. Benedict’s line, but they were the next team to score. A rebounded kick fell perfectly to their number 15 who ran the try in unopposed but then missed the conversion to make the the score 20-12.
Penrith knew it was important to score next or the pressure would be on, and substitute Liam Sharples provided that score within two minutes of coming on to the field. Quick hands by Adam Pate freed Sharples who left his opposite number standing as he ran in under the posts to give Simpson an easy kick.
The final points of the day were scored by Simpson who slotted over a penalty in the last five minutes.
This left Vags manager James Maclean and seasoned veteran John Sealby the task of collecting the Cumbria League 2 Shield for the second consecutive season.