DAN White ran in a first-half hat-trick as Hawcoat Park got their Cumbria Shield campaign off to the perfect start with a bonus-point win at home to Upper Eden.

The Maroon & Whites had suffered a five-point defeat away to the same opponent just three weeks prior, a result which meant they could not qualify for the top four in Cumbria One when the division split into two.

However, they responded in the perfect manner on their own patch on Saturday afternoon and put themselves firmly in the driving seat for the second part of the season.

Upper Eden took the lead when their fly-half kicked a penalty following a high tackle on their full-back, but Hawcoat went ahead with an unconverted try scored by White following an excellent line-out drive after Scott Kaighan had kicked to touch from a penalty of their own.

Another penalty, coming this time after the referee had sin-binned George Smith for kicking the ball away – much to the bemusement of the Hawcoat captain – saw the visitors edge back in front.

Yet being a man down did not affect Park too much, with forwards Ash Mowat and John Donnan making big yards which led to White grabbing his second in the corner and Will Coles converting.

Smith had an immediate impact after returning from his 10 minutes on the sidelines, with the captain passing to Adam Grainger who in turn found White for him to grab his third try of the match along with Coles – via a fortunate deflection off an opponent – again adding the extras to make it 19-6 to Hawcoat at half time.

Upper Eden responded immediately when play resumed with a converted try by their winger, but Hawcoat forced a knock-on from the restart and the resulting scrum led to the ball being worked along the line for Lewis Sayle to send Benji Platt over out wide to secure the bonus point.

Another scrum gave the backs space to attack, with Smith finding winger Platt who beat several defenders then raced clear from 30 metres for a try which Coles converted.

A penalty from Smith kept the scoreboard ticking over in Hawcoat’s favour, but Upper Eden did not give up and a rolling maul saw them gain 20 yards before switching to the blindside and powering over.

However, Hawcoat had the last word when Kaighan passed to Grainger, who shipped the ball on to Jack Lord for him to race 60 metres up field to score an unconverted try.

Hawcoat now prepare for a trip to Whitehaven next week, with the West Cumbrian side having edged out St Benedicts 10-9 in Saturday’s derby clash.