Winnington Park 29 - Dukinfield 22
Winnington Park retain the cup
Winnington Park successfully defended the Cheshire Bowl with a tight win against a dogged Dukinfield side who played brilliantly in a scintillating game where the result was never certain until the final minutes.
Played in great conditions although slightly windy and played in a great sprit Park started as favourites but only because of their higher league status. The boys had trained hard and just like last years final when Park won as underdogs Dukinfield were not treated lightly as the Park boys knew they were in for a tough afternoon. Dukinfield kicked off into a playing with a strong which is never easy to utilize but the early exchanges were sharp and tense as both teams showed nerves. The set piece was scrappy and both sides needed to settle down. Conditions did make for a fast game which eventually came. Park scored with their first real attacked when Rob Garbett finished off a fine move in the corner after Harry Stubbs and made good yards before slick hands in the back set the try up. Elliot missed the conversion.
The early dominance continued when great positional kicking for Elliot forced a mistake in the dukinfield defence. From the resulting 5 metre scrum Harry Stubbs beat 2 would be tacklers for the second try and Park led 10 nil with the difficult conversion kick missed. Dukinfield soon responded with a penalty on the half hour mark and at 10-3 it was game on. Park played the right game turning the opposition with pin point kicks from Elliot and it was from another mistake and good work from the Park backline led to Harry Stubbs scoring again from close range. Elliot made the kick and Park led 17-3. Towards the end of the half it went slightly wrong for Park they lost influential centre Rob Birchall to a serious knee injury and had Matt Cross harshly sin binned before the break for a deliberate knock on. Park were punished and from the lineout the Dukinfield pack drove for the line and scored with their only real attack the kick was made and the match was in the balance at 17-10.
Park needed a big second half and little luck if they were to retain their trophy. Elliot began a masterful display of kicking and hurt Dukinfeild with length of the field kicks to get Park out of trouble. James Gracey began to make yards in midfield and with Ian Moriarty outstanding in the pack the signs were good. Two early penalties from Elliot helped push the score out to 23-7 and the signs were good. Dukinfield to their credit kept battling and were a credit to themselves and the travelling support that pushed them on. They began spoiling Parks scrum and a mistake at the base led the ball to ball coming out on the blindside was well picked up by the scrum half who fed the winger to score in the scorner and the score was 23-15. Another try soon followed and rocked Park’s confidence and again it was from a mistake at 5the scrum this time it was scored under the sticks and with 68 mins gone the game was in the balance. Thankfully Park were able to compose themselves and 2 vital penalties from Elliot helped park extend the lead to 29-22 a converted score. The last 5 mins were played out on Dukinfield’s half as Park made sure the trophy was not going to slip away from their grasp.
The whistle went and a sigh of relief followed as Dukinfield took credit for a super game that was great for the spectators but not their blood pressure. The cup is a great way fro the club to finish the season and is a credit to everyone involved at the club. 2 trophies in 2 years and a 4th place league finish underline the progress made. The team will benefit from this as we look to progress and push fro promotion next season.
Well done boys I bet their were a few sores heads as the celebrations at the Tigers Head were certainly heading for the early hours !!
Burgess, Robbins, Armstrong (Sant 55 mins) Cross, D , Moariarty, Armstrong, Stubbs, Hewitt (Tracey 65 mins), Cross M, Elliot, Garbett, Gracey, Birchall (30 mins Heptinstall), Allmark, Jones Subs Dodds, Preston, Dykes