Seconds wrap up fantastic season with cup final win
MANOR Park seconds clinched the Warwickshire League 3 Trophy on Sunday by beating Bedworth Bears 17-3 in a hard fought final, writes Paul Everard.
Due to the late withdrawal of Andy Checkley due to illness, Cameron Brotherhood was brought into the starting line up and Chris Goode made up the numbers in the replacements.
Park won the toss and elected to play uphill in the first half. A stiff breeze was blowing across the pitch in favour of Bedworth as the early exchanges between the 2 teams brought no real chances of a score although Bedworth had more possession overall despite the Park scrum being dominant. It was not until 15 minutes into the game that the deadlock was broken as Park scored the first try of the game. From a scrum 10 metres inside the Bedworth half scrum half Liam Rose spun the ball out to inside centre nicky bennett who made an excellent run before being tackled, Rose again recycled the ball to outside centre Dan Cooper who with real strength beat several attempts to bring him down scored under the posts from 15 metres out.The try was converted by Adam Bennett to open up a 7 point lead for Park.
From the restart Bedworth started to dominate the game and despite having the majority of possession for the next 20 minutes, Park's defence was excellent and showed real resiliance with some excellent tackles being made particularly by back row partners, Cameron Brotherhood and Stu Kemp that resulted in 2 players from the opposition being replaced due to injuries depleting further their threadbare squad as they only brought 19 players. The wind did not help as despite numerous attempts to clear the ball Bedworth retained possession but the only points they scored despite their dominance was from a penalty conceded by Park in the 32nd minute for holding on to the ball just inside the 22 that was slotted over the posts confidently by the Bedworth fly half to reduce the deficit to 4 points.
Again from the restart Park were put under pressure from their opponents who continually kept attacking and they were unlucky not to score themselves when their inside centre broke through a gap left after a missed tackle but instead of offloading the ball to his winger on the outside of him decided to go for glory himself only to be stopped by a brilliant tackle from fly half Gaz Bennett after tracking back.
Just before half time it was Park's turn to make an infrequent visit into Bedworth's half and after a great run from Lee Walker down the left wing the ball broke to fly half Gaz Bennett who feigned a pass to his brother Nicky and made a lovely sidestep to go through the gap that had been created by the run of the Park centre from just outside the Bedworth 22 to score to the left of the posts. Unfortunately the conversion was missed with the last kick of the half to give Park an excellent half time 12-3 lead.
Park made a couple of changes in the pack at half time and started the 2nd half well but after 50 minutes there was an incident off the ball after a scrum had been given to Park for a knock on when the Bedworth number 8 (Lee Cooper) appeared to head butt a Park player (Liam Rose?). The offence was not seen by the referee but the touch judge on the near side had seen the incident and through his radio link made the referee aware of the incident. After consultation the referee produced a red card to the offending player, leaving Bedworth to play the remaining 30 minutes with 14 players.
Park continued to attack at every opportunity but Bedworth despite using most of the 12 interchanges allowed due to further injuries hung on as Park were unable to capitalise on the numerical advantage despite utilising all of their replacements including Chris Goode who replaced the injured Jordan Simpson in the front row.. Bedworth continued to press but only made infrequent visits into the Park half as it was their turn to defend well. It was not until towards the end of the game that a penalty awarded for offside was kicked into touch 10 metres from the Bedworth try line from just inside the Bedworth half by replacement fly half Sean Haughey From the resulting line out Park won the ball and drove for the line against a visibly tired and depleted Bedworth pack and it was Chris Goode who grounded the ball to extend the lead to 17-3, the conversion being narrowly missed by stand in kicker Craig Morris. This proved to be the last action of the game as the referee blew his whistle for full time. The celebrations then started for James "Podge" Everard's team as after an excellent season they finished with the trophy they thoroughly deserved.
Man of the Match: Stuart Kemp
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