Bay Horse 10
A brave set of players and large crowd braved awful conditions to take part in an absorbing contest as Garstang took on Bay Horse for the Jason Bamber Memorial Trophy on Sunday.
After incessant rain for the best part of the past month the pitch was more like a swamp than a sporting field, but both teams were keen to play this showpiece fixture.
With Bay Horse having a huge pack featuring some heavyweight north-west guest players the game was always going to be a forward battle and this proved to be the case. At times Bay Horse dominated in the scrum, but Garstang’s greater mobility meant that they had the upper hand at the breakdown and in broken field play.
With the game being played in three periods of 20 minutes the first period looked like it would end in a stalemate, but just before the break Slater broke through the defensive line. Although he was hauled down just short of the line, the ball was smartly recycled and moved out wide to Chaplin who dashed over in the corner (5-0).
At the start of the second period Lee Acton broke through the defensive line on halfway and he then showed a decent turn of pace as he outsprinted the cover defence to go over under the posts. Robinson added the extras to take the score to 12-0.
By this stage Garstang were starting to enjoy themselves – well as much as you can enjoy being soaked to the skin in icy cold mud! – and they looked to have secured the game when John Robinson broke through and scored out wide to take the score to 17-0.
However, these games are never easy to win and Bay Horse kept themselves in it as they scored from a forward rumble at close range just before the end of the second stanza (17-5).
Multiple player changes and general fatigue meant that the game became even more fragmented in the third period and both teams had scoring chances, but it was Bay Horse who capitalised five minutes from time as they went in at the corner to bring themselves within a converted score (17-10).
Garstang went straight back at them and when John Robinson broke through the middle it looked like another score was on the cards. However, he was unceremoniously dumped on his backside and had to leave the field with a nasty looking injury which subsequently turned out to be a broken jaw.
With the crowd baying for full time Bay Horse launched one final attack and they looked like they had scored following some good work by their powerful pack. However, Garstang got enough bodies underneath the ball carrier and he was deemed to have been held up. The team still had to defend one more scrummage and a final onslaught, but they did just enough to secure the hard fought win.
All in all it was a great afternoon and a great day of rugby (unless you are a purist!) Special thanks must go to all the players, supporters, match day sponsor Allan’s Bobcat, all the people who helped on the day and especially to Dave Miller for organising the whole day.
Garstang: Farndon, Kenyon, Miller, Orr, Acton, Johnston, Slater, Billington, Brown, Robinson, Smeaton, Bolton, Chaplin, Peck, Nickson. Replacements: Ayers, Lambert, Duda, Jolleys, Dawson.
Match sponsor: Allan’s Bobcat
Garstang are back in league action next week as the 1st XV travel to Hutton in North Lancs One and the Blues host Fleetwood 3rds in Raging Bull League Four North. Both games kick off at 2.15pm.