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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Hawcoat Park on cloud nine after Windermere win

HAWCOAT Park are on cloud nine after recording their ninth successive Cumbria League win to go nine points clear of their closest rivals.

But the leaders did not have it all their own way on Saturday against resilient opponents, second-in-the-table Windermere. And they had to wait until after the break to secure their victory, with the score delicately poised at 3-3 at half-time.

With coaches Jeff Simm and Paul Burns’ words ringing in their ears, the maroon and whites started the second half brightly.

Playing their preferred way towards the clubhouse end, the first 10 minutes of the half were played in the Windermere 22.

Eventually the pressure told and following good work by Callum Ramsay and fly-half James Howden, skipper Jason Priss got his hands on the ball to force his way over from close range. Adam Jackson converted for 10-3.

Danny White was introduced midway through the second half and his rangy running made a real difference, making ground every time he had the ball.

The home side’s nerves were settled with 10 minutes to go. Quick hands from scrum-half Sam Hilton on one side of the pitch saw the ball move across the field. And this time outstanding full-back Jackson threw out a long pass to the other wing and Josh Haney needed no second invitation to score in the corner. The conversion against the wind from the touchline just fell short, making it 15-3.

Then, from the last kick of the match, Jackson slotted over a 35-metre goal.

A soft just about playable pitch after all the recent rain would not be the preferred choice to take on Windermere and with their strong pack, they were happy to keep their game to a ‘10-man’ style, and a typically uncompromising battle ensued up front in this top-of-the-table clash.

The whole first half was very even as both sets of forwards tested each other out. The majority of the play was around the halfway line or in the Windermere half.

At times Park cranked up the pressure to camp in the Windermere 22, but were unable to find a gap in a determined defence.

Powerful bursts by Tim Clark and Mark O’Halloran would normally have produced tries, but Windermere showed why they are in second place with their spirited defence.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining Windermere took the lead with a 30-metre penalty. But the last kick before the interval saw Jackson level the score at 3-3 with a 35-metre penalty.

The Park victory was a result that had to be earned with an all round team effort against a determined Windermere side.

As usual the young front row of Priss, hooker Adam Grainger and Brad Morrow thrived on the physical challenge against their experienced opponents.

Skipper Priss jointly took the man-of-the-match award with back row Lightfoot.

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