One Man Team Win Without The One Man
Garstang show Eagle that there is more to them than a goal-kicker as they outplay them to remain unbeaten this year
GARSTANG 23-10 EAGLE
When these two sides met earlier in the season Charlie Clark put in a superb kicking performance as he slotted six penalty goals in an 18-12 victory. At the time Eagle claimed that Garstang were a one man team, so it was ironic that Garstang beat the same opposition in Clarke’s absence. His replacement in the Number Ten jersey was Kieran Davies, who was slotted in from Full Back. He had a massive game as he put in a kicking performance that Clark would have been proud of, and a running, try-scoring display that he could only dream of.
With Eagle having closed the gap to eight points at the top of the table they knew that they had an opportunity to put some pressure on Garstang as this phase of the league campaign nears completion.
Early on Garstang challenged the opposition line but they were unable to get on the scoreboard. This told midway through the half when Eagle got a penalty within range which they slotted over to take the lead (0-3).
Garstang came back strongly and they were soon awarded with a penalty of their own. Kieran Davies slotted this over to tie the scores up at 3-3.
Following this Eagle had their best period of the game as they managed to put in a period of sustained pressure on the Garstang line. The defence was sensational, as it has been all season, to keep them at bay but eventually the sheer volume of pressure told and Eagle scored under the posts (3-10).
From the restart Garstang hit straight back with an expansive move which almost saw them go over in the corner. They were stopped just short but the ball was worked back inside and then out wide again for Kieran Davies and he squeezed in at the corner. He then got up and slotted a great kick from the touch line to level the scores at the interval (10-10).
Garstang had welcomed back a trio of veterans for the game and Graeme Slater was introduced to the fray at half time to join Richard Orr and Ainsley Pye. With the fresh legs and experience Garstang started to gain a stranglehold on the game and they completely dominated possession and territory in the second period.
A score wasn’t immediately forthcoming but inevitably it did come fifteen minutes into the half. Garstang had been pummeling the Eagle line with some hard runs particularly from Lawson Whittaker, Gavin Barton and Luke Richmond. However, it took a bit of subtlety to breach the defence, as Gavin Barton put in a cross kick which Ian Makinson caught at full stretch as he out-jumped his opposite man and dived over to score the try (15-10).
Shortly afterwards another penalty n front was given and Kieran Davies slotted it over to give Garstang a bit of breathing space (18-10).
With a few minutes to go the ball was kicked through and Joel Dugdale got his fingertips on the ball to dot down for a miracle try in the corner. However, the referee was a fair distance away from the touchdown and decided that he could not award the try, despite the fact that the touch judge kept his flag down.
Garstang were not to be denied though, and with time almost up they got the try that sealed the win. Luke Richmond, who had a huge game and was awarded Man of the Match, made another big break. As he got through the line he looked up and saw an acre of open space in the backfield, he kicked it through and Kieran Davies won the foot race to slide over and score the try. That gave him a personal tally of eighteen points in the 23-10 victory.
It was an excellent performance and win which gives Garstang a twelve point lead at the top of the table and sees them maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign going into 2018.
Team: Parkinson, Nicholls, Kenyon, Couling, Whittaker, Tissingh, Pye, Barton, Riley, Davies, Tomlinson, Dugdale, Nickson, Makinson, Richmond. Replacements: Orr, Slater, Hindle
The Blues had been scheduled to play Colne & Nelson 2nds but they withdrew at the eleventh hour so Garstang were awarded the points.
The next league games for the teams are on Saturday 6th January as the 1st XV travel to Bury and the Blues are away against Burnley 3rds.
On Saturday 30th December Garstang play Bay Horse in the annual fixture for the Jason Bamber Memorial trophy. The game kicks off at 13:00.