On a beautiful, crisp Winter afternoon Garstang and Bay Horse met in the traditional annual fixture for the Jason Bamber Memorial Trophy.
These games have always been fiercely competitive and this one was no different with the game being in the balance right until the final whistle.
Early on in the game Bay Horse started strongly with Jonny Bleasdale pulling the strings and Ben Greenwood putting in the hard yards. Despite this the Garstang defensive line stood firm with the mighty midget Stuart Dawson putting in some tremendous tackles. Eventually though the line was broken with some Barbarian-esque play as the ball was flung wide and Walling scorched over in the corner (0-5).
Despite dominating in the scrummage Garstang seemed unable to get a foothold in the game and it was no surprise when the Horse extended their lead to 8-0 on the thirty minute mark as Gorst slotted over a penalty.
Garstang knew that the next score was vital and it came to them as McLennan scythed through a gap in midfield to go over under the posts. He added the extras himself to close the gap to one point (7-8).
From the restart Garstang got the ball back and got to within yards of the Horse line following a thunderous run from Dave Miller. A Bay Horse infringement led to a Garstang penalty and, with the half time break imminent, they elected to kick the penalty to take a slender 10-8 lead into the break.
With the temperature dropping and both teams ringing the changes the game slowed down in the second period and Garstang started to wrestle control of the game. Two McLennan penalties took his personal tally to 16 and gave Garstang a seemingly unassailable 16-8 lead. Bay Horse set up a grandstand finale as Gorst scored a try in the corner to reduce the deficit to 16-13 with a couple of minutes to play.
As ever in this game a frantic finish ensued but Garstang managed to hold on and retain the trophy.
The game and event was part if a fantastic day and a massive thanks must go out to Dave Miller who arranged both teams and fed them twice.
On Saturday January 3 it is back to league action for Garstang with the 1st XV away at Birchfield and the Blues away against Burnley 3rds.