Fleetwood travelled to struggling Upper Eden still chasing their first win of 2017.
Conditions were good and the afternoon was set for 2 evenly matched teams to play some entertaining rugby. The first half saw much tentative play from both sides, defences leading the way. Owen Brown took an early knock and was replaced by Chris Jones . Jack Brocklehurst was sent to the sin-bin leaving green and golds with 14 players. Eden exerted early pressure but struggled to break through the defensive line. Mike Kelly and Rob Brookfield tackled heroically to keep the hosts at bay who pounded at the Fleetwood line. All the pressure was absorbed before Fleetwood worked their way back upfield. Player-coach Woodburn took the ball forward before offloading to young centre James Torkington who drew his opposite number before sending winger Brad Stapleton in the corner for a well-deserved try despite suffering a knee injury in the process. Andy Holme, always smiling , replaced Brad on the wing and was unfortunate not to score a try but for a forward pass. Before half time Fleetwood continued to attack and quick hands after a line-out found young centre Owen Brown running strongly into the heart of the Eden defence. From a transgression at the breakdown Fleet were awarded a penalty which Scott Richardson knocked over for a half-time lead of 8-0
Eden pressed hard in the second half with their influential number 8 making good yards. Fleetwood were in no mood to lie down however and defended strongly at every situation. Scrum half Matt Larkin was excellent in both attack and defence, Karl Bowling showed a mature head on young shoulders whilst young Reece Heer showed promise going forward. Upper Eden were awarded a number of penalties in the second half but chose to either kick for the corner or run the ball. After 60 minutes their dividends paid well after a mid-field break led to a missed tackle and their influential no.10 strolled in for a converted try 7-8. The final quarter saw a change in emphasis with both teams assuming dominance. Scott Richardson was outstanding in open play but couldn’t quite find his kicking boots. Fleet brought the changes with Chris Jones, Brad Stapleton and newcomer Devon Brown entering into the fray.
Eden attacked against the visitors in the later stages who seemed to be struggling but held out for a valiant victory.
We were most impressed with the hospitality offered by our hosts and genuinely hope that we will be playing you next season. Final score 7-8