Kells won the Iggesund BARLA Cumbria County Cup Final a record tenth time to complete a memorable cup and league double in the clubs first season of summer rugby which will stand them in good stead when they enter the National Conference league next season after this victory over a gallant Glasson Rangers.
The final which only got the go ahead following a pitch inspection on the morning of the game saw underdogs Rangers take a shock 4-0 lead but favourites Kells showed their pedigree with some superb running rugby to score four unanswered tries in each half for a emphatic 42-4 win including a treble from man of the match second row forward Ryan Watson, son of former Kiwi Dave Watson.
Kells got off to a nervous start as they knocked on ingoal from the kick off which saw them drop out and they were then penalised for a high shot but survived the next set. Rangers though got into their faces and Brad Hughes charged down Kells kick on the last. The centre hacked the ball on before it bounced kindly in his hands for him to score in the corner after three minutes.
Kells hit back with two six pointers in five minutes with the first on seven minutes following a fortunate back to back set. On the third tackle the ball was flicked out to the rushing Watson who drove through defenders to the line and stretched his arm through a hole to score. On 12 minutes on the last tackle they attacked down the right channel and Steve McCourt and Craig Benson combined to put Connor Holliday in at the corner. Ryan Robb’s magnificent touchline conversion to add to his earlier kick made it 12-4.
Kells pack Gary Smith, Dave Lowery, Paul Lowery Tony Burns, Bradley Smith and Watson took control with some hits and drives and there go forward and always looked dangerous with ball in hand.
Rangers forwards didn’t have that penetration although halves Nathan Lucock, Gareth Skillen and hooker Mathew Burns gave their all for the side to get back in the game and they were unlucky to have a try chalked off for a forward pass from Skillen.
But double hits from Kells in the last nine minutes of the half and opening four of the second made sure the cup went to Kells. On 31 minutes following back to back penalties a quick tap saw Lewis Smith score by the posts and following his chip over the defence by Barry Boyd, Watson was in support to score his second to make it 24-4. On 42 minutes Watson completed his hat-trick on his sides first attack with him on the end of delightful quick handling and on their next attack Rangers fumbled an angled Boyd grubber and Boyd flicked the ball out to Paul Lowery to drive over for two unconverted tries.
Rangers if not defeated then Kells seventh try on 50 minutes killed them off as Burns put Scott Lofthouse through a gap to burst 30 metres downfield before he found the supporting Boyd to score under the posts and Louis Wilson added the extras.
Rangers battled gamely on and Brian Patterson couldn’t take a pass out wide with the line beckoning and minutes later on the opposite wing they had another chance but couldn’t take the pass.
The final word went to Kells to finish off a great win on 68 minutes started and finished by Robb. From the play the ball he found the impressive Smith who passed to Lofthouse who broke away through the tired Rangers defence, he unselfishly passed inside to Robb to score and the halfback kicked his fifth goal for an individual fourteen points.
KELLS: 1. Lewis Smith, 2. Connor Holliday, 3. Craig Benson, 4. Scott Lofthouse, 5. Reece O’Neill, 6. Ryan Robb, 7. Steve McCourt, 8. Dave Lowery, Bradley Smith, 10. Gary Smith, 11. Paul Lowery, 12. Ryan Watson, 13. Tony Burns. Subs: 14. Ross Gainford, 15. Ben Milburn, 16. Louis Wilson, 17. Barry Boyd
Tries: Watson 7, 39, 42, Holliday 12, Smith 31, P Lowery 44, Boyd 50, Robb 68, Goals: Robb4/5, Wilson 1/2, Boyd 0/1
GLASSON RANGERS: 1. Greg Rowley, 2. Grant Murdy, 3. Dean Scholey, 4. Brad Hughes, 5. Dean Petrie, 6. Nathan Lucock, 7. Gareth Skillen, 8. Barry Goodfellow, 9. Mathew Burns, 10. Lee Hodgson, 11. Dan Fryer, 12. Mathew Johnson, 13. Dan Rourke. Subs: 14. Brian Patterson, 15. Jordan Kerr, 16. Keenan Winter, 17. Garry Tierney.
Tries: Hughes 3,
Goals: Hughes 0/1
Half Time: 24-4
Man of the match: Ryan Watson (Kells)
BARLA Media Manager
Edited by Honor James, 16 December 2012 - 06:04 PM.