LANCASHIRE 42 CUMBRIA 20
Lancashire are Under-17s Tri Series winners again following an entertaining win over Cumbria at Hindley on Saturday afternoon.
The game was played in blustery conditions with occasional showers yet the handling of both teams was very good.
Cumbria started the better of the two teams and dominated the first twenty minutes. They opened scoring after four minutes when captain Zac Steel showed good feet to evade three tacklers and put the ball down at the side of the posts. Scrum half Billy Thompson goaled and then added a 12th minute penalty after a high tackle on Charlie Emslie. That opened up an 8-0 advantage and Cumbria were good for it kicking deep, chasing and tackling hard.
Thatto Heath’s Nathan Wild saw a try chalked off when he was tackled in touch by Jonathan Carrick following a kick by Blackbrook halfback Aaron Hughes. Eventually Lancashire started to get a foothold in the game and after winning a penalty and pushing close to the line, Hughes took control of the play, sending Andrew Badrock (Leigh Miners Rangers) over the line with a pin-point pass. Wigan St Judes fullback Jack Mills couldn’t convert but supplied a brilliant try assist moments later.
Lancashire started to find their rhythm and when Mills caught a kick downfield, he set off down the left wing, brushing aside a challenge before passing inside on half-way. Hughes was in support to go the rest of the way and Mills added the first of five goals to put the red rose in front 10-8.
It was a purple patch for Lancashire and a third try followed before the break when Leigh East hooker Jack Hamer, halfback Calum Coleman (Blackbrook) and Mills all linked and wing man Jack Barnes (Wigan St Judes) flew over the line.
Mills couldn’t convert but Lancashire led 14-8 at the break.
The first five minutes of the new half were pretty even. Cumbria broke through Liam Bates with the Lancashire side chasing back, but then the red rose cut loose again with two tries in three minutes from Wild. The first came courtesy of a break by Mills after a good pass from Leigh Miners Rangers prop Harry Darby. The ball was moved left for Andrew Badrock of Leigh Miners Rangers to half break and pop the ball up at the right time for Wild to finish.
In similar quick-silver style Wild swept over for his second after good work from Hughes, Ryan Woolfenden (Shevington Sharks) and Jack Boulton (Leigh Miners Rangers). Mills goaled both and it was 26-8 to the hosts.
Cumbria replied through a bulldozing effort by Jake Bradley, goaled by Thompson, but within four minutes Lancashire were over again. After winning a penalty big Tom Johnston (Blackbrook Royals) dragged the defence in before Coleman and Mills worked the position for Boulton to score.
From the restart the outstanding Tom O’Loughlin (Shevington Sharks), a destructive force throughout, beat five defenders on a sixty metre run before being hauled down by Steel. Referee Connor Astbury sinbinned Steel and within seconds Woolfenden had breezed past three would be tacklers and popped out a peach of an offload for Boulton to score his second try.
Mills fourth goal stretched the score out to 36-14.
Lancashire’s Jackson Kelly (Rochdale Mayfield) was sinbinned for a challenge on Bradley but this couldn’t quel the red rose and Woolfenden scored a glorious try, searing clear from sixty metres and turning the full back. Mills made it 42-14 with the conversion but there was still time for Cumbria to score their third try when Bradley called for the ball twenty metres out and bounced off three defenders to the try line. Thompson nudged over his fourth goal of the afternoon and the game finished a couple of minutes later with Lancashire victorious.
Main Picture credit: Mark Stringer