With two unbeaten teams meeting each other for the first time the game lived up to what was expected.
The first half was a pretty close call with Cumbria scoring first after strong forward running and good hands from the backs creating an opening try down the right wing by Hayley Hodgson the Cumbria winger. Lancashire responded well with some powerful play by both forwards and backs, the direct running worked well created a try for Kirsty Lee Griffiths on her Lancashire debut.
Lancashire managed to dominate possession for 90% of the first half however after one too many offloads the ball was spilled and Cumbria scored again with a run in again from Hayley Hodgson, and the Cumbria fly half Abby Bland converting from in front of the posts to make it 5 – 12. With five minutes to go in the first half Danielle Wiseman the Lancashire fullback made her way over the line after a tight period of forward dominated play and releasing the back line. Going in to half time the score was 10-12 with everything to play for.
With a lot of the game played in the centre of the pitch by both teams the second half produced some great rugby and some ferocious tackling by both sides. Midway through the second half Lancashire took the lead through a well worked forward move and Connie Whyte the Lancs. hooker made her way over the line. The conversion was just short of the posts, so with 15 minutes to go the nails and nerves were getting fraught with Lancashire leading 15-12.
Cumbria responded very well with some strong running from Captain Lucy Meadley. Lancashire got pegged back in to their own half, ferocious tackling by the Lancashire back row and full back the opposition were kept at bay however the pressure sis not let up with only a couple of minutes to go the Cumbria captain powered over the line to take the score to 15 – 17.
The final score of 17 - 15 really didn’t reflect the way Lancashire played with one player held up over the try line and one try chance averted in the first half and although there are still many areas that they need to tighten up on there were many positives to be taken from this game in preparation for the Durham game next week at Blaydon RFC.
Congratulations to Cumbria on a hard fought win, we look forward to the return game next season.
Mike Dale, Lancashire Team Manager