Cup fever was in the air at Panther Park this morning as Chorley played host to Ashton Bears in the NWC Development Cup.
After some slow start`s in recent weeks, Coach McMullen had asked for improved focus early on and a determined run from the ever impressive George Minton took Chorley into the danger zone. Mercurial half back Michael Beardsworth then seized the opportunity to dummy and jink his way through to register an early score. 6 – 0.
The Bears then had to deal with some sustained pressure from the home side and more good movement was rewarded with a second try soon after when Adam Turner proved to be master of his craft as he scooted in to extend the lead. 12 – 0.
“Winning isn`t everything, but wanting to win is. The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain.”
A period of champagne rugby from the Panthers, shifting the ball through many pairs of hands, then found centre Hayden Baah who still had plenty to do to score in the corner. 16 – 0.
Credit to the visitors though who found touch with the kick from the re-start and pulled a score back after regaining possession. 16 – 6.
“Anything you can do I can do better,” fullback Owen Farnworth then used the re-start to the Panthers advantage allowing good field position for Jack Thompson to increase the lead. 22 – 6.
The Bears saw out the remainder of the half with some resolute defending despite some very strong running from the returning George Carr, in arguably his best performance to date and more hard yards from the ever reliable Dominic Norris.
Second half underway and Chorley gained head and feed at the scrum following another smart kick. Hayden Baah then stepped in at loose forward and utilised his considerable pace well to cross for his second try of the day and to take Chorley to 28 – 6.
A rare mistake from the Panthers allowed the Bears powerful number 8 to punish the home side with a try under the stick`s. 28 – 12.
Again Owen Farnworth found touch with the boot and this time Bobby Green slotted in at loose forward and barged his way through the Ashton defenders. 34 – 12.
With Chorley now in control, the threat from the Bears all but disappeared. Strong defending up the middle from scrum half Ciaran Johnson and Captain Connor Worden and determined running from backs Dylan Quayle and Conner Twiname meant the pressure on the Ashton defence was unrelenting.
A typically bullish try from prop forward Eston James and a fine solo effort from stand off Jack Thompson saw Chorley finish the game comfortably with a final score of Panthers 42 – 12 Bears.
A dominant display from the U13`s in a game where they didn`t really hit top gear, but Coach McMullen will surely be pleased to be in the draw for the next round. A short break now means they can rest the bumps and bruises and prepare for whoever awaits them in round 2.