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Furness in the pink after Millom victory

FURNESS continued their resurgence under new coaches Corne Els and Gary Pritchard with a crucial derby win over Millom.

In an entertaining game despite challenging conditions at the Strawberry Grounds, the hosts claimed a victory to boost their claims on a top-five place.

The Blues started the liveliest and showed their intent to move the ball wide.

Pressure resulted in Millom giving away two penalties in quick succession, but agonisingly for the Furness faithful both of Ethan Guy’s penalty attempts slipped the wrong side of the posts.

Furness kept coming and their efforts gave South African Els the chance to take a quick tap and crash over the line. Guy converted for a 7-0 lead.

Millom upped their game and began to put pressure on the Furness scrum, but George Kennedy stood his ground for the home side in the front row and fellow prop Andries Venter was his usual self, gaining yards whenever he had possession.

It was Rhys Studt who benefited from this ground gained as he swept up a loose ball and weaved his way over the line from 15 metres out, his well-taken try increasing the lead to 12-0.

This was the wake-up call Millom needed and they began to make good use of the freshening wind with some punishing kicks deep into the Furness half.

Just before the half-hour, a five-metre scrum following a knock-on in the home line allowed the visitors to use their superior bulk, to pick up and drive, Trevor Dixon finishing the move off from close range for 12-5.

Millom continued to put the squeeze on Furness and an offside penalty in the centre allowed Neil Shaw to narrow the gap to 12-8 with his boot.

This was the Blue and Whites’ best period of the game and their rumbling pack proved hard to stop in the muddy conditions.

The tactics again paid off on the stroke of half-time with a carbon copy of their first try from close range, this time Adam Redhead the man to finish the move off, putting them 13-12 ahead at the break.

In the second half, Furness had the sun and wind at their muddy backs and started with intent.

Straight from the kick-off Will Mallinson tapped the ball back to Pritchard, whose elusive pace through the mud opened a gap for Els.

He raced through some sloppy tackling and over the line from 22 metres out to give the hosts a 17-13 lead, and the initiative was back with the home side.

Millom lost composure and spent the rest of the game giving away needless penalties, with three players having spells in the sin bin.

Furness capitalised and, despite scrum half Tom Vanstone going off with a back injury, stand-in Andrew Brannon kept the ball alive and Phil Brockbank was steady in the mud as he fed Mike Backhouse and Tom Brannon, who both showed electric pace in the deteriorating conditions.

The Millom pack were under pressure, Furness forcing the visitors onto the back foot and scoring as a catch and drive from five metres out saw Venter crash over in the corner, 22-13.

Former Furness man Karl Benn was the first Millom player sent to the sin-bin, raising a wry smile from his former colleagues, one which widened as Backhouse made hard yards and sent Adam Brown over in the corner, 27-13.

Both sides continued to provide an entertaining game even in the mudbath, which covered even Furness’s bright pink strip.

Guy added a final penalty for the home side – with Millom down to 14 men in the closing stages – to seal the victory.

Els had another outstanding game for the hosts, ably supported by the ever-improving Jacky Wicks in the second row.

For Millom, it was a bad day at the office and they will look for more consistency in the weeks ahead.

Both teams have blank weekends ahead of them, before Millom host leaders Hawcoat Park and Furness travel to Kirkby Lonsdale in a fortnight.

Have your say

no mention of millom 2nds thrashing furness 2nds? sure there would have been if it was the other way round.

Posted by paul on 11 November 2012 at 20:24

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