Storm Callum Provides Tough Test
Keswick may have been taking the name "The Lake District" a bit too seriously
On a wet bleak day, Fleetwood's second string made the long journey to Keswick. On a good day this would of provided some spectacular scenery. Unfortunately, Storm Callum had rocked Cumbria leaving the ground saturated and the rivers and streams close to breaking their banks.
Fleetwood went away with a strong squad looking to secure their first win of the season and gave themselves every chance to snatch one over a well drilled, fit Keswick side.
The official did his pre-match inspection of the pitch and declared that he was just about happy to go ahead with the game at the captains' discretions. 'Fleet elected to play due to having just got off a two hour bus ride and didn't want to waste the day out.
Fleetwood kicked off into the swirling wind, as Darren Howe's kick didn't quite make the 10 metre line. Keswick feeling confident about things elected to take the scrum. This has been Fleetwood's Secret Weapon all season long, and it was again on the day. As the bigger away forwards charged over the home side to win the ball back immediately.
From the resulting play, 'Fleet won a penalty, to which the wind came back to haunt Howe again. As he kicked the ball the wind did carry the ball over the line, but unfortunately this saw the away side lose ground as the ball went behind the penalty mark. This changed the emphasis of play for 'Fleet and they went for a solid up the jumper forwards game.
For the remainder of the half, 'Fleet defended for their lives, covering the exceptionally wide pitch well. There were last ditch tackles from pretty much every one in a Green and Gold shirt as they valiantly defended the line. Unfortunately shortly before half time, Keswick managed to find a gap in the defence and pounced on it to score, with full back Howe electing to swipe a kick at the ball instead of diving on it. conversion missed. 5-0.
Fleetwood were confident at half time that if they kept the work rate up that they could get some scores on the board.
The second half was played in that spirit as the forwards worked hard to retain the ball in the rucks and scrums to allow the fast backs to have a pop at the home defence. Centers Heilbronn and Hall and wingers Birks and Hearne all had a good crack at unlocking a stern home defence.
Just as it looked like momentum was turning in Fleetwood's direction, a Keswick back got the ball and cut an outrageous line through the away defence, leaving defenders stuck in the mud to score near the sticks. Conversion Scored 12-0.
Things went from bad to worse as the away side as the official gave a soft penalty in front of the sticks. The Keswick kicker did not need a second invitation. 15-0.
Spurred on by this, Fleetwood poured everything into attack and camped for the first time in Keswick's half. Winning a penalty on the five metre line, 'Fleet elected to take the scrum. Like clockwork, they won it, pushing the home boys over the line. It seemed inevitable that No. 8 Langton would come out with a score to his name, but it wasn't to be as a home player grounded it, forcing a replay of the scrum.
From the new scrum, 'Fleet applied a copy and paste formula and pushed had for the line, would Langton atone for his past transgression? No. As Scrum Half and second team debutante Joe Macauley manged to wrestle the Cumbrians off him to get the ball down. Coversion by Howe. 15-7.
Fleetwood energized from this looked to push on to win it. At the same time though, Keswick had psyched themselves back up. The two sides collided in the middle in a stale mate. Keswick won the encounter and broke hard for the line. Macauley had to make a try saving tackle. As the game finished at 15-7.
Full Time: 15-7
In the end, Fleetwood put in a very good performance against a good, well drilled Keswick side. The game was played in right spirit and we are looking forward to hosting them at Melbourne Avenue later on this season.
Man Of The Match
Bit of a tough one this week. In the forwards the entire front row dominated their opposite numbers in the scrum, Jeffrey, Kilburn and Hargreaves all put immense shifts in. Again in the backs every made their hits and looked sharp, Macauley got his try and made some big hits as did Crompton at 10.
The home team selected Second Row Callum Rocks as their pick. There is no dispute that Callum had a stormer of a game. (I'm disgusted with myself for that one.) But there was one man on the pitch who's performance was almost perfect (Not scoring), that being Ben Langton. He was everywhere on the pitch and looked dangerous at all times.
Dick of the Day
No contest this week. Reece Heer. Turned up off a night out, had to bench him from the start. Begged to come on, made two runs, threw two bad passes, blocked the center channel and took himself off. Great two minutes Reece, we will see you at training Tuesday.
The Weekly Sam Pook Report
Sam decided that he would give it a miss this week after seeing the weather report and hide on his boat. Skipper Foden went to Hooker and won all his own scrums and the majority against the head, with his line outs being straight as a ruler. Sam definitely has competition for his shirt when he is back next week.
Fleetwood host West Park at Melbourne Avenue. 3pm kick off. If you fancy a game please get in touch. If you can, please get down to training this week Tuesdays and Thursdays 7pm.
Squad: 15.Howe; 14. Hearne; 13. Hall; 12. Heilbronn; 11. Birks; 10. Crompton; 9. Macauley; 1. O'Hara; 2. Foden; 3. Gregson; 4. Rocks; 5. Jeffrey; 6. Kilburn; 7. Hargreaves; 8. Langton; 16. Wood; 17. Heer.