Tuesday, 09 February 2016

Furness move fourth after tremendous win


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TRY: Joel Williams goes over for Furness BILL WATKINSON REF: 50042472B007



Kendal A


FURNESS’S excellent run of results continued with a victory over Kendal seconds at the Strawberry Grounds.

Joel Williams, Piers Cleaver, George Kennedy, Rhys Studt and Andries Venter helped themselves to tries as the home side moved into the top four of the Cumbria League.

As the rain cleared and the wind dropped, the healthy home crowd were treated to a thoroughly enjoyable game of rugby. Both sides were determined to get the win, with Kendal, disappointed after last week’s narrow defeat against Millom, reinforcing their pack and setting about the game with intent.

Their line-out was secure and their backs were talented ball handlers with flare and pace, and for the first quarter of the game wave after wave of attacks were neutralised by the Furness defence.

Andrew Brannon and Joel Thomas, playing his first game in the centre, launched themselves at the Black and Ambers and wingers Charlie Martin and George Smith were more than a match for their opponents. On the few occasions the Blue line was breached, Ethan Guy was there as last man to take down the runners with some textbook tackles.

The game was played in the middle of the field for much of the first half, with skipper Corne Els, now released from his second row duties, playing like a man possessed as he rallied his troops and led from the front. He was rucking, mauling and stealing the ball at will, freeing up his backs who were eagerly supplied with ball by the lively Sam Dutton.

It was from a powerful drive by Furness second row Arron Pike that the deadlock was broken, with a penalty stroked over by Dutton.

Shortly after the restart Kendal were awarded a penalty and this too was converted to lock the scores at 3-3.

As half-time approached a disrupted Kendal scrum saw Dutton pounce on a loose ball, and good support work from Will Mallinson released the ball to the charging Joel Williams. No-one was going to stop him as he tucked the ball between his elbows and launched himself headfirst over the line. Dutton converted to take the pressure off as the whistle went for half-time at 10-3.

With the slight breeze at their backs, it was Furness who took the second half by the scruff of the neck. Pike, Els and Dries Venter battered the Kendal line and Dutton and Williams kept the defence guessing with some well-struck kicks into space.

A catch by Will Mallinson and drive by his support saw Piers Cleaver dive over from close range to give Furness a 15-3 lead, but Kendal responded quickly with a try of their own to reduce the gap to five points again.

The next score was going to be vital and it was Furness who underlined their dominance as a disrupted Kendal scrum saw Kennedy emerge with the ball to score his first try in a blue shirt.

Studt was a constant thorn in the side of the Kendal defence and even let them off the hook by diving over the line, but dropping the ball in the process.

A few minutes later however, he managed to hang on and score as the Furness onslaught continued.

With the clock ticking it was the workhorse of the blue pack, Venter, who was in typical bullish mood to break some tired tackles and crash over.

Finally, to the sarcastic cheers from the blue faithful, the conversion was successful and the final whistle blew with the score at 32-8.

It was the dominance of the Furness pack in the second half which proved the difference, with Pike taking the man of the match award for his all-action performance in his first game back after an ankle injury.


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