Colts crowned county champions
HAVING lost to Sunderland by just a point in the dying minutes the previous week, Penrith Colts were in a determined mood when they took on Carlisle in the county cup final, played at Keswick.
It turned out to be a repeat performance of last year’s final, with Penrith again victorious.
PENRITH U-18s 18,
CARLISLE U-18s 12
The game was tight and scoring opportunities were limited, as both sides defended well.
Penrith kicked off and pressed forward, making some solid tackles which eventually turned the ball over. A Carlisle infringement within kicking distance saw Penrith captain Ed Smith step up to put three early points on the scoreboard.
Carlisle were a big, strong, physical side which had the Penrith scrummage moving backwards at almost every put-in. The lineouts were much of a lottery for both sides, but in open play the Winters Park men looked the more dangerous.
As the game remained tight, Smith tried to convert another penalty kick at the end of the first half, this time from just inside the opposition half. The score, however, remained at 3-0, with everything to play for.
Penrith started the second half as they did the first, with early pressure that was converted into points as Smith again kicked a penalty.
The Penrith pack started to put together some quick rucking phases down the middle of the park, and with Carlisle now on the back foot, the penalty count against them started to rise.
A penalty try came next for Penrith as a quick-thinking Vincent Chan pulled the ball from the ruck after the referee had blown to penalise Carlisle. He tapped, then drove to the line and came up short, but the tacklers did not retreat the required 10 metres and prevented a certain try.
From the restart, Carlisle took the fight straight back to Penrith who, under pressure, conceded a penalty on their 22m line. Another quick tap and go was first recycled from the ruck, then chipped into the corner. The chase was good, and with Penrith’s clearing kick charged down, Carlisle touched down for a converted try.
Five minutes later they again went over, this time in the right corner, blindside off of the base of a ruck deep in the Penrith half. This reduced the deficit to one point at 13-12.
The momentum had now swung in Carlisle’s favour. With 10 minutes left to play, it was still anyone’s game.
Penrith upped their game from the restart and played out the remaining minutes in Carlisle’s half. The pack were looking after the ball, the big runners were breaking the gain line, and the back line were seeing much more of the ball.
The final score came from a Carlisle clearing kick. The Penrith backs and forwards linked well for one final push. Several phases of play later, they were once again on Carlisle’s 5m line. A sniping run from scrum half Hugh Burne on the right drew in the defence and he then offloaded to Josh Winder. The way to the line opened up as he powered over with both ball and tackler for a final score of 18–12.
Having won the North East and Cumbria League (North), the Colts will tomorrow travel to the Newcastle Falcons ground for a cup final with the South league winners, West Hartlepool. Both teams have registered just one defeat all season in their respective leagues.
Waiting’s Ltd has kindly sponsored a coach and there will be a collection on the day for Brain Tumour Research.