Bonus point win at sunny Skipton
Great to be back to league rugby and a 5 point start for Cas
The first league fixture of the new season saw Cas travel to newly promoted Skipton. It was a nice sunny day with a great pitch with two side looking to put down a marker for the season to come.
Cas kicked off the first half and the first few attacks saw some slick back play by Cas, but when Skipton conceded their first penalty Thomas Egan
had no hesitation in kicking the 3 points. Cas had the lion's share of possession for the next 15 minutes but too many times there was a knock on , forward pass or a dropped ball. Skipton had the upper hand in the scrums but Cas were on top at the breakdown, Karl Del Rosario
being a thorn in Skipton's side all day long securing countless turnovers.
The first try of the season came from a turnover ball which was moved quickly to the backs with Josh Riding
feeding Thomas Dobson
who still had a lot to do but he had the pace to outrun the defence to score under the posts; EGAN was successful with the conversion.
Scrums aside Cas were on top in the forward battle Christian HEAD and Jamie Owens
leading the tackle count, Ian Mattison
was feeding DOBSON and he was running some excellent lines, Cas were now starting to cause Skipton problems; it was from one of these runs that DOBSON scored his second try, racing in from 35 metres out and having to beat 5 Skipton defenders on his way to scoring again under the posts. EGAN was again successful with the conversion.
This seemed to galvanise the home side who decided to keep the ball in the forwards so the rest of the half would be a forwards battle; when the ball was sent wide Cas's defence was resolute with wings Nathan Campsill
and Joe Crossland
giving their opposite numbers no room or time.
Skipton kept making small gains in territory but Cas' defence kept the line un-breached, time after time Skipton got inside the 5 metre line only to knock on or get turned over, Gareth PETERS and Danny Price
tackling their hearts out. The first half ended inches short of the Cas line but 0-17 was a fair reflection of the half.
Skipton's second half game plan was to use their scrum and forwards but props Alex Farnham
, Luke Langstaff
and James Catton
were all on rotating to cover front row and 2nd row and this helped improve our scrum which got steadily better throughout the second half.
The first 20 mins were nip and tuck but Cas's defence were on top; from a line out in our 22 Cas changed the tempo and ran the ball, good hands led to Billy Westerman
beating 2 men then pass to CROSSLAND who first beat his opposite number then chipped over the cover tacklers reclaimed his kick and won the race to the line to score in the corner. EGAN kicked the conversion from the touch line.
Cas with their heads up now attacked from all over the pitch. this got backs and forwards inter playing and led to the bonus point try when Danny Price
backed up another mesmerising run to be on hand when unselfishly DOBSON passed to price to score under the posts. EGAN continued his perfect day from the kicking tee.
Cas continued to keep up the tempo and from a quick tap by EGAN in our 22 he raced into the Skipton 22, unfortunately this time the Cas players backing up were shadowed by Skipton players so there wasn't an offload available; as the ball was set up Cas were penalised at the ruck, Skipton taking their lead from Cas also took a quick tap and some good handling saw them score under the posts with Cas out on their feet.
Cas had finally sorted the scrum and with DEL ROSARIO still causing havoc at the breakdown Cas were awarded a penalty which EGAN slotted over with little fuss.
The last 10 minutes saw Skipton advancing slowly up the field. the Cas defence held firm, clearing their lines time after time. the final play saw a Skipton 5 metre line out mauled over for a try in the corner and with the last kick of the game Skipton's young kicker nailed the touchline kick.
Skipton 14 Cas 34.