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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Furness book place in top five after great win

FURNESS secured a place in the top five of the Cumbria League with victory over a spirited Penrith side.

S98236B.jpg dries
TOUCHDOWN: Dries Venter scores in first half for Furness CHRIS REID

CUMBRIA LEAGUE RU

Furness

26

Penrith

23

Penrith started the game knowing they were a win away from top-five security and The Blues knew they needed only one point to move into the comfort zone, so the stage was set for an interesting encounter.

Furness started impressively and dominated possession for the first five minutes. Recycled ball was cleverly distributed by lively scrum-half Sam Dutton and the first time Penrith touched the ball was picking it up after Rhys Studt burst through a gap to score the opening points of the afternoon. George Smith converted to give the hosts an early 7-0 lead.

With the ball in their hands, Penrith were always willing to move play wide with pace and individual flair and it was clear both teams were hoping to run the ball despite the tacky conditions underfoot.

Furness appeared to be under the impression this was going to be an easy afternoon and some basic errors began to creep in as concentration waned.

Penrith’s scrum was solid and outweighed the Furness eight. It was from a home defensive scrum on the 5m line that the Penrith number nine pounced on a loose ball following a mix-up at half-back to open their account, 7-5.

The Blues were then caught offside allowing Penrith to edge ahead by one point. The home support began to relax as Andries Venter and, shortly after, Scott Hadwin crashed over the try line and Smith added the conversions for 21-8.

Once again though, Penrith fought back and some uncharacteristically sloppy Furness defence saw the Greens score under the sticks. The conversion and, a few minutes later, a penalty for offside, saw the Penrith back in the game at 21-18.

The Strawberry Grounds outfit started the second half with the wind at their backs and began to put some good phases of play together.

Corne Els was running hard, with Venter and Studt in eager support. In the backs Jack Clements took some stopping and the introduction of Joel Williams added pace to the centre partnership.

Charlie Martin on the wing was tackling heroically – and he needed to as Penrith ran out of defence at every opportunity.

Ethan Guy at full-back was always looking to link with his backs and George Smith was distributing efficiently to get his back line moving.

Frustratingly it was not until 62 minutes that Scott Hadwin timed his run to perfection to take a short ball and crash over for his second of the game at the Strawberry end, 26-18. Penrith came back when the Greens pack rumbled over the line in the last play of the game.

Furness now look forward to travelling to Windermere this week to contest the runners up place in the Cumbria League.

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