AK Junior Colts vs Chester - Cheshire Plate Semi Final
AK Junior Colts dominate from start to finish
Chester has not been happy hunting ground for this group of players in recent years, but Chester's recent poor run of results gave the team a real sense of belief that they could reach another final.
The pitch at Hare Lane was probably the poorest surface the team have played on all season, very heavy and cut up all through the middle with standing water in several places. The team saw this as an opportunity to play to the strengths of their forwards regularly using the ball to pick and go to gain direct yards. Kersal had a chance to open the scoring on six minutes from a relatively straight forward penalty, unfortunately the muddy pitch hindered Max Brookes footing and he pulled it narrowly wide. The deadlock didn't last long though, barely a minute later Kersal were awarded a scrum 15 metres from the Chester line. Ollie Joyce picked up from the base of the scrum and made a quick blindside run to score in the left corner, to give Kersal an encouraging 0-5 early lead. The lead was extended on 11 minutes, a well worked set piece move saw Derry O'Driscoll make excellent yards on a powerful hard line run to put the visitors in a good position. Two quick moves from the ruck saw Joyce in space again to score an easy second try, converted by Brookes.
AK's confidence was really showing now and they continued to assert their authority on the game with a third try after 17 minutes. Chester had possession on their own 22m line, which Kersal superbly turned over. Tom Gill and Sam Walsh exchanged some neat passes switching the direction left and then right, finding Jay Thompson who drew in the covering defender, releasing the ball in the tackle to Harry Backhouse on the right wing. Backhouse cut inside over the line to touch down under the posts, leaving Brooks with a straight forward conversion. It was all looking too easy and the Kersal team dropped their guard right on half time letting Chester back in it to finish the half 5-19.
The second half threatened to be a challenge with Kersal now having to play up the hill and against the wind, fortunately any signs of complacency were quickly put aside when Aiden Silgram showed great strength to stretch over under pressure and score in the corner. The lead was further extended to 26 points on 50 minutes. Kersal had the put in at a scrum 5m from the Chester line. O'Driscoll came in fast on hard line to take the ball without breaking stride and scoring before the Chester defence could challenge him. Brooke's took his tally to six points with the kick.
Kersal finally booked their place in this years final with ten minutes to play. Ollie Joyce picked up the ball 10m inside the Chester half, he had three men on an unopposed overlap, but didn't need them fending off three tackles to complete an excellent hat trick, with Brookes adding his fourth conversion. The team performance was immense, every player put in huge effort in both defence and attack to record an impressive 5-38 victory.
Ollie Joyce (3)
Max Brookes (4)