Bay Horse keep hold of trophy

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Garstang 3 Bay Horse 11 Match Sponsors – Allan's Bobcat

ON a freezing cold day Garstang and Bay Horse delivered a game which may have not been the greatest spectacle but was hugely physical and played with a level of commitment which befits the occasion.

This fixture is played annually for the Jason Bamber Memorial Trophy and both teams, along with the crowd had a minute's silence before the game as a mark of respect.

Bay Horse kicked off the game and Garstang immediately took the ball up into contact. It was obvious from these early exchanges that the game was going to be confrontational with neither team taking a backward step. Eventually Garstang forced a penalty which they elected to kick for the corner, the line out was won by Lee Acton and the ball was driven forward.

Unfortunately, when the second phase ball came Garstang got turned over and Bay Horse were able to clear their lines.

With 20 minutes gone Bay Horse had gained good field position after a decent spell of pressure, Garstang had a scrummage on the 22-metre line which they comfortably won. The ball was passed back to Andy Blackley who took a split second too long with the kick, this gave Bay Horse skipper Neil Lathom the chance to charge the ball down which he did and then successfully controlled the ball over the line to register the opening score of the game (0-5).

From the restart Garstang surged back at the opposition. Andy Blackley put up a beautiful kick to Mark Sutcliffe of Bay Horse, as he attempted to catch it he was cleaned out in magnificent style by Lee Acton. This play got Garstang's tails up and they followed it with a period of pressure. They were rewarded when they got a penalty under the posts, Andy Blackley successfully slotted it over to bring Garstang to within two points (3-5).

The remainder of the first half saw a lot of effort but scoring chances were few and far between.

At half time Garstang made one change with Chris ter Bekke replacing Graham Slater.

The second half started off following the pattern of the first with very few scoring chances. After 10 minutes of the half with nothing much happening Garstang made a further two changes. Paul Brown and Andy Redmayne replaced Simon Whittingham and Gareth Pullen respectively.

This period saw Bay Horse having their most sustained spell of pressure and they were rewarded with a penalty under the posts. They elected to kick for goal and made no mistake (3-8).

The next few minutes were disastrous for Garstang with this season's injury jinx striking them again. Firstly, Andy Blackley dislocated his shoulder and he left the field to be replaced by Andy Bhagat-Lowe and then Geoff Ogden went off with an ankle injury, he was replaced by skipper Simon Whittingham who had just left the field.

With 15 minutes remaining Garstang got a kickable penalty and they elected to go for goal. Unfortunately for Garstang the kick was missed and the opportunity to close the gap had been squandered.

With time running out Garstang were throwing caution to the wind but they were not really causing Bay Horse enough problems and they were able to clear time and time again. In the final few minutes Bay Horse put some deep kicks in which were retrieved by Andy Bhagat-Lowe. Rather than kicking back he elected to run from deep and he showed that Garstang could have given the Horse defensive problems if they had been more adventurous by releasing the backs earlier in the game.

With three minutes left on the clock Garstang conceded a penalty under the posts which Bay Horse kicked and secured the game (3-11).

With the game gone Garstang replaced both their flankers, Jimmy Richardson and Luke Ford, both having given their all, with Craig Jones and Frank Purkis.

There was no further scoring and Bay Horse secured the win to regain the Jason Bamber Memorial Trophy.

After the game Garstang captain Simon Whittingham said: "It was another closely contested game but Bay Horse took their chances and we didn't."

Bay Horse skipper Neil Lathom said: "It was the toughest, most physical game the Bay Horse have ever had against Garstang."

Special thanks to Mike MacGowan and Trevor Kilshaw for kindly running the bar after the game.

Garstang team: S.Whittingham (Captain), B.Whittingham, C.Pickles, A.Whitaker, G.Ogden, A.Blackley, M.Gorst, J.Richardson, L.Ford, G.Slater, D. Bosson, L.Acton, M.Everest, L.Waddell, G.Pullen. Replacements: A.Redmayne, C. ter Bekke, A.Bhagat-Lowe, P.Brown, C.Jones, F.Purkis.

On Saturday Garstang Blues played away against Blackpool 2nd XV and were beaten 17-0. It was another tough game with Garstang suffering further injury woe with star scrum half Simon Porter having to be helped off the pitch with an ankle injury.

Garstang have no scheduled games over the Christmas period but they have two games to rearrange in the intermediate league. The two possible dates for these games are December 26 and/or December 31. For further details of when these games are to be played go to www.garstangrugby.com/fixtures.php?teamid=2&season=2005