NORTH LANCASHIRE TWO
Carnforth travelled down the M65 at the weekend to face a team currently battling for third with ourselves. Pendle have joined the RFU Leagues this year after being dominant in the University of Salford leagues for a few years and they have acquitted themselves well. Carnforth went without key players in john greenland, darren winning and top try scorer dan blenkharn but were buoyed by the return of john hodkinson to the front row.
On a wet pitch it was Pendle who performed the better of the two teams, especially in the second half, as they claimed a 5 point bonus win to draw level on points with Carnforth. The conditions did not help for running rugby but both sides tried to keep the ball flowing and the forwards had a tremendous battle.
Carnforth did take the lead with a well struck penalty from Mathew Short on 10 minutes after Pendle were caught offside. The hosts, well supported on the far touchline, moved back down the pitch with some well worked moves, the scrum half having an excellent tussle with Gavin Barton. On 22 minutes it was the No 9 who managed to pounce on a loose ball to get his side on the board, also converted.
Back came Carnforth and with Jason Short, graham rich and Greg Sykes making some good hard yards the away support sensed a score. The ball was shipped keenly down the back line to allow winger Gavin Berry to sprint away for a try, an excellent conversion from Short gave Carnforth a 10 – 7 lead.
However the lead was short lived as Pendle came back strongly again and a second try was scored, this time the scrum half turned provider for the No 8/assistant referee/skipper Aldo to cross in the corner for what must have been his first ever try in senior rugby following the celebrations.
Turning round 12 – 10 down, Carnforth knew they were not out of the game and used their replacements – dave hones, Hodkinson and John Edmondson all taking part during the 80 minutes.
The pitch was starting to cut up in places with the sun, wind and hailstones all making conditions hard. Pendle started stronger and they kept the ball moving well, the scrum half at the heart of their moves along with some excellent play from the home stand off.
Carnforth always looked to counter attack with Barton making excellent ground, one move saw him tackled late close to the touchline which saw tempers raised, this saw a member of the Pendle crowd enter the field of play to join in the altercations. To be fair to the Pendle coach he dragged the idiot away and he was also reprimanded by the referee – spectators should not be joining the field of play.
Game restarted and following a player apiece in the sin bin, it was Pendle who got their reward with a penalty try after Carnforth impeded at a scrum, conversion added and a 19 – 10 lead.
Minutes later and the game was secured when a 4th try was scored, this time the scum half rummaging his way through for his second try, the conversion attempt almost leaving the ground.
Carnforth tried to get back into the game and a score would have given them a bonus point but the defence held firm and Pendle claimed a vital win in the battle for third place.
Carnforth face a similar journey this weekend as they face a tough task by visiting Colne in a rearranged league game.
O Cousins, P Metcalfe, N Hamer(rep J Edmondson), J Harrison, G Berry, M Short, G Barton, L Moorhouse(Capt), J Wilson (rep D Hones), A Seaton (rep J Hodkinson), L Launders, D Cadman, G Rich, G Sykes, J Short
Man of the Match – Adam Seaton