Launceston come off second best in arm-wrestle and disappointingly fail to execute their game plan
Kieran Bainbridge is unstoppable as he carries for two heavy weight tries and Finn Moses is rewarded for his efforts with first Launceston score
Launceston travelled to local rivals Liskeard with some trepidation after last years match. You always know what you’re going to get in Liskeard – lumpy forwards, rolling mauls and a big arm wrestle. That, plus a very partisan Liskeard crowd make it an increasingly difficult place to visit. The Launceston game plan was to move them around the pitch and run the legs off them.
The first few minutes were all Launceston, a quick start with lots of intensity. The All Blacks pushed into the Liskeard half with some good carries and Alfie Hold kept them on the back foot with a perfectly weighted chip down the left-hand touchline. A great chase from Alex Maciver-Redwood almost set up a wonder try in the corner. Launceston kept up the pressure and a scrum on the 22 allowed Kieran Bainbridge (captains man of the match) to launch from the base and take 3 or 4 tacklers with him over the line. 0-7
Liskeard’s response was immediate. From the kick-off their big guns trundled forward forcing a lineout. A driving maul created a simple score for them in the left corner. 7-7
The game then took on the pattern that would remain for the rest of the game - the big Liskeard forwards would carry then they would carry again and again. Not the most attractive rugby but Launceston fell into the trap of trying to play them at their own game. Great breakdown work from Billy Martin, Freddie Ward and Josh Brown came to nothing as the Liskeard forwards counter-rucked with real intent. Launceston just didn’t commit enough players to the breakdown and failed to retain possession when it really mattered. However, against the run of play, Kieran Bainbridge picked a gap and carried like a tank, bursting three tackles, and then showed fantastic pace to go in from the halfway line. 7-14
The first half finished with Launceston conceding a soft try on the right after a kick through caught the defence napping. 14-14
At half time it looked as though the Liskeard forwards were starting to tire and the boys went into the second half with real optimism. The plan was to create some width after a really tight and forward orientated first half.
However, Liskeard stuck to their plan and Launceston just couldn’t impose themselves enough to execute theirs. Within a few minutes of the restart Liskeard had mauled their way over for another try in the corner 21-14
The Launceston backs were desperate to get hold of the ball but the forwards were getting isolated and overpowered by their opposing pack. However, when the backs did get into the Liskeard half they were effective and looked dangerous. Alex Maciver-Redwood found the forward pods to create some co-ordinated momentum with Josh Elias a real focal point. Good ball retention and recycling allowed the ball to be spread wide and Finn Moses found a gap and took a well deserve try on the right. 21-19
That score set up a nervous finish with both teams desperate to nail the deciding score. Initially it looked as though Launceston might sneak it with some excellent carries from Kane Clements and Josh Bakehouse. However, the penalty count started to build up against Launceston and Liskeard used their lineout and maul to great effect pushing back into the Launceston half and were rewarded with a try on the right at the death. 28-19
A very similar game to last year with the dominant Liskeard pack asserting themselves and rucking Launceston off their own ball. A game of missed opportunities and a failure to execute the game plan to run the big Liskeard forwards around the pitch.