This week saw Cannock kick off their league campaign on home turf against the newly promoted Trentham. After a strong positive pre-season with new head coach Neil Powell and Paul Buckley the warm up was intense, on point and clinical. Pregame chat was simple, take from the training field and put it in to practise and come home with the win.
Cannock started the game with a suburb kick from off from Reece Downes who hung the ball nicely in the air for Skipper Gareth Ley to get his hand to it and nudge it back to put Cannock on the front foot. Unfortunately a slight knock on from the home team and the first scrum of the day was awarded to Trentham. Good pick up form the no. 8 allowed the visitors to gain some yardage and attack in the Cannock half, solid defence by Cannock backs kept the visitors at bay. Trentham backs kept the ball alive and managed to work their way around Cannock players, great covering tackle by Larry Adeyanju and Will Jukes slowed the attack down but quick ball out to their 7 who got held up short of the line but a good pickup allowed their back row to score under the sticks.
0 - 7
Good restart by Reece allowed Cannock to put on early pressure on the visitors, good work from John Freeman and Joe Brookes making some crunching tackles and keeping the visitors in their half. More pressure from Stephen Frost forced Trentham to spill the ball and scrum down to Cannock. Nice to see Jon Shirley back in the driving seat of the pack again with Matthew Madsen and Danny Parson either side of him leading the pack. Dan Clarke stepping in to the no. 9 shirt this week, good straight feed in to the scrum by Clarkey showing the visitors how it should be done, massive eight man shove by the Cannock pack saw them dominating the Trentham forwards and marching them back towards their 22 line, Penalty to Cannock! Ley calls for post with was kindly slotted by Reece
3 - 7
Cannock wanted to keep the pressure on and good catch from the restart saw the impressive on form (finally) Daniel Blake smash it up, quick off loads through the forwards saw Cannock gain some good territory. Quick ball from Clarkey out to the backs to unleash the power house Vice captain Josh Humphreys who charged up the park punching holes in the Trentham defence. Good defence by the visitors, and good turnover by their 7 saw the Trentham on the attack again. Strong running lines by their backs and a neat little move paid off and Trentham dotted down again.
3 - 14
From the restart the Cannock pack gathered and carried hard. Good offload's in contact from the newly formed back row Ley, Freeman and Frosty allowed Cannock to gain good yards deep in the home side half. Another Strong carry from Jon Freeman who shipped the ball out to Reece who go the ball out wide to Neil Hilliage who UNLEASHED Larry who charged up the pitch like a Sherman tank with players clinching on what ever they could to stop him, great support from David Edwards who was running some superb lines all day only to get snagged in the opposition 22.
Trentham restart the 2nd half and Cannock were looking to up the intensity of the game, a clean take by Craig Richards who blasted in the visitors like bowling ball and knocked them flying. Quick ball from the ruck from Neil Cartwright out to Will Jukes who hadn't seen much ball but had been a tackling like a machine all game carry hard down the right wing. Good clearing out by the backs saw the ball to come out Daniel Blake who did his show go only to be described as a speed skater with swinging arms, punched a hole through the defence of the visitors and ran 40m and ploughed through Trentham’s fullback to drive and score on the right line this week!! Congratulations to Tank on his first ever 1st team try.
8 - 14
Cannock now with some wind in their sales up the intensity of the game, using the slope to their advantage we were creating some good phases and piling on the pressure to the visitors. Strong Carry from Ley who broke through the middle of the park with his infamous dummy kick and dashed towards the line only to get snagged by their fullback who made a great covering tackle, and the ball was lost forward. Scrum down and Cannock piled on the pressure, Trentham 7 pick ball up only to get nailed and driven back over their 7 line, scrum down to Cannock. Quick ball in to the scrum Freeman picks and goes, offloads to the beast Reece who gives a rude hand off and scores in the corner.
15 - 14
Viggo, Lump and JTB allowed Cannock to get on the front foot again in the Trentham half, great rucking from Frosty, Brookes and Tank saw the ball come out quickly to Humphreys who spotted the gap and put in a sweet 20m grubber kick, chased his own kick and scored a fantastic try. Cannock really were getting back in to swing of it and really taking control of the game now.
19 - 14
Trentham restarted the game with a great restart and immediately putting Cannock under pressure, they were most certainty not done yet. Good phases from the visitors and poor tackling from Cannock allowed their back row to make ground deep in to the Cannock half. Quick recycled ball from their 9 who shipped it right and last min ditched tackles by Jukes, Clarkey and Dave kept the visitors out, quick ball again saw them with an overlap and Trentham scored in the corner.
19 - 21
Cannock knew they had to dig deep in the last 10mins of the game, questionable penalties awarded to the visitors left Cannock on the back foot and under pressure. Trentham side failed to materialise as the ever impressive Cannock defence held strong, Cannock’s defensive this season is becoming stronger each week, thanks to all the hard work being put in during our training. Turnover ball in the last few minutes of the game Ley calls for the post, Reece steps up, places the ball on the tee and takes one step back, with no run up, slots the ball straight through the middle of the uprights and give the Cannock the lead.
22 - 21
Man of the match this week went to a well deserved Daniel Blake for a stellar performance on debut try, with honourable mentions going to all 18 players for strong performances all around the park. Thank you to Mason Harris for leading us out on to the pitch to start the season off.
Training continues Wednesday 7-9.
Thank you to all our sponsors, Wakelake, NMB, DGL,