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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Victory at Millom costs Furness dear as skipper Els taken to FGH

FURNESS made it two wins out of two in the Raging Bull Cumbria Conference – but they paid a heavy price for their victory, losing inspirational skipper Corne Els with a dislocated and broken ankle 10 minutes from time.

Els was rushed to Furness General Hospital for treatment as his side wrapped up a thrilling victory over Millom at Wilson Park.

Now they have to prepare for this week’s derby crunch against Hawcoat Park at the Strawberry Grounds without their skipper and talisman.

Millom also suffered injuries, losing Trevor Dixon in the warm-up, and player-coach Steven Woodburn and Danny Redhead during the game.

Furness came away from Haverigg knowing they had been in a game as the home side proved to be their usual resilient selves on their own territory.

Both sides had prepared well, with Furness chalking early points on the board through two successful Sam Dutton penalties.

Millom were dominant up front, and on the superb playing surface, they found plenty of purchase underfoot to assert themselves.

And on 15 minutes a catch and drive and a well-worked rolling maul saw Pearson, playing in the unaccustomed position of flanker, cross the whitewash, with full-back Neil Shaw converting for 7-6.

Furness responded quickly as Ethan Guy joined the line from full-back and gratefully accepted Jack Clements’ short ball to cross the line for a great team score in the corner.

Millom responded by taking a stranglehold on the game as they kept the ball tight and rumbled towards the clubhouse end.

The pressure eventually told as a penalty narrowed the gap to 10-11 followed shortly by a well-taken try from the base of the scrum to give Millom a 15-11 lead on 33 minutes. Eventually a dropped ball allowed Furness to break the siege and the ever-alert Rhys Studt showed off his footballing skills by stabbing the ball low from halfway upfield.

The bobbling ball was difficult to judge but Studt won the chase and a deft final touch saw him pounce on the ball for a great individual try. Dutton’s conversion made it 15-18 as the half-time whistle blew.

Early pressure caught Millom offside and Dutton made it 15-21 on 42 minutes before the home side responded with an opportunist try by Shane Clark, which was converted for 22-21.

Furness went ahead when Guy raced in for his second touchdown, but there was nothing he could do as the unpredictability of the oval ball bobbling on a hard track set up a moment he will want to forget.

Having kicked fresh air, Guy could only watch as Millom scooped up the ball to score and regain the lead at 27-26.

A Dutton penalty then gave Furness a two-point advantage and Will Mallinson then scored under the sticks, allowing Dutton his easiest conversion of the day.

Millom, who play Windermere this week, stormed back, but they were unable to break the visitors’ line again.

Millom 27
Furness 36
Millom 27
Furness 36

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