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Honor James


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Cumbria County ARL U17’s 14 - Lancashire County ARL U17’S 32

Current BARLA Under 17’s Tri County Series champions Lancashire held onto their title to complete a hat-trick as top dogs at this age group in the three years of the competition. Two converted tries in the last three minutes of the half saw them lead 16-4 and they doubled their points tally in impressive style to ensure there was no Cumbria comeback.

The Game 3 decider though was marred pre match through broken promises by RFL officials in Cumbria who told a number of Cumbria players that they could not play in this game, despite the fact that the game had been put back a week, despite reassurances from the RFL to BARLA Youth and Junior Board Representative Stuart Prior who had been in constant dialogue with the RFL this last seven days.

The RFL stance has angered Cumbria ARL officials; some are threatening to walk away through the RFL stance.

Stuart Prior (said), “Really disappointed to consider that I’m one of the persons who advocates to work with the RFL. Two weeks ago, three weeks ago even we found out that there was going to be a problem last week, and I worked really, really hard with the RFL to get the game moved to today. I was promised faithfully that everything today was going to go swimmingly and nothing was a problem and that all the Cumbrian lads who are on the RFL Academy in Cumbria were allowed to play.

“Then I arrive at the ground today to be confronted by five, six people from the Cumbria committee to say that this morning at 10.30am certain personnel at the RFL had pulled the lads out because they said that they had not sought permission, when the permission was given a couple of weeks ago. The fact is and I think that we have to reiterate is that two weeks ago we was promised that if we moved the game or we couldn’t play on that particular day that everything on the alternative date was okay.

“For them to make a statement this morning to say that they haven’t sort permission and pulled the lads out I just think it’s just upsetting. Because we are trying really, really hard to work with the RFL and they keep saying it’s a partnership and things together in the same breath. The problem is there’s certain people want to work with us and certain people don’t want to work with us at the RFL and I think that they have got their own backyard to sort out as well. Certain people at the RFL do want to work with us other ones want to go against us.”

Turning to matters on the pitch following a minutes silence of the passing of Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract, it started disastrously for Lancashire as they lost hooker Sam Hollingsworth (Wigan St Patricks) with a suspected broken/dislocated elbow. He was taken to West Cumbria Hospital where it was later put back and the Lancashire lads called into see him with their Tri Series trophy on their way home.

They also had to defend their own line after giving away four quickfire penalties as Cumbria pressed and Tom Wilkinson (Ulverston) had a try chalked off for a forward pass.

Two minutes later on their first attack Lancashire scored an unconverted try following a penalty. Josh Wood (Orrell St James) Joe Prior (Wigan St Patricks) twice, Liam Naughton (Thatto Heath Crusaders) and Sean Brown (Orrell St James) combined to put winger Liam Marshall (Wigan St Patricks) in at the corner for the first of his brace.

That began a lengthy spell of Lancashire forward domination in the Cumbria half with (Lancashire Player of the Match) Sam Welch, Kieran Sherritt, Jack Swarbrick (all Wigan St Patricks),Tom Marsh (Orrell St James) and Naughton to the fore with Josh Crehan (Thatto Heath Crusaders) at hooker.

Cumbria hung in and against run of play levelled the game on 25 minutes from a scrum, Joe Bold (Egremont Rangers) found Luke Davidson (Cumbria Player of the Match) (Wath Brow Hornets) who burst through a weak tackle and went 50 metres to the corner.

Lancashire stormed back, first Wood lost the ball in a great scoring position and Marshall just stepped into touch with the line beckoning. From the resulting scrum though Cumbria lost the ball on the third tackle on their own twenty metre line and they were made to pay as Crehan put Rob Meadows (Ince Rose Bridge) in from close range and Curtis Edwards Hampson (Wigan St Patricks) added the extras.

From the restart Lancashire increased the lead when Prior and Hampson’s wide pass put Brown in who went under the posts and Prior added the extras.

From the restart Rob Hamon (Blackbrook Royals) lost the ball and Cumbria pressed but Lancashire defence stood firm and on 41 minutes they increased their lead following a penalty, from the play the ball Prior went through a gap and jinked through the defence under the posts and added the extras for good measure.

Cumbria though wouldn’t lie down as Connor Wilson (Flimby), James Porter (Ulverston), Brad Fearon (Ellenborough Rangers) and skipper Callum Farrer (Wath Brow Hornets) drove relentlessly at Lancashire. They turned five minutes of pressure into points as Jason Todd (Ellenborough Rangers) went in from the play the ball and Cole Walker Taylor (Wath Brow Hornets) added the extras to cut the lead to twelve points.

Lancashire showed Cumbria respect Hampson kicking two penalties before they broke Cumbria hearts on 66 minutes as their sliding defence was in operation. Ten metres out Bold found Brandon Moore (Ellenborough Rangers), as he passed outside Marshall intercepted to streak 90 metres under the posts and Hampson’s conversion made it 32-10.

Cumbria battled gamely on Davidson scored his second with the final play of the game following Will Agnew’s (Egremont Rangers) angled grubber to the corner.

We will never know if the Cumbria players not allowed to play would have changed the result, but on the day Lancashire were imperious and fully deserved to clinch the title winning two from two and given they lost their hooker early in the fray.

CUMBRIA UNDER 17’S: 1. Cole Walker-Taylor (Wath Brow Hornets), 2. Harry Brown (Dalton), 3. Luke Davison (Wath Brow Hornets), 4. Hanley Dawson (Millom), 5. Howard Rowley (Millom), 6. Brandon Moore (Ellenborough Rangers), 7. Joe Bold (Egremont Rangers), 8. Brad Fearon (Ellenborough Rangers), 9. Jason Todd (Ellenborough Rangers), 10. James Porter (Ulverston), 11. Callum Farrer (Capt) (Wath Brow Hornets), 12. Conner Wilson (Flimby), 13. TomWilkinson (Ulverston). Subs: 14. Jake Spedding (Ulverston), 15. Brad Hailes (Ulverton), 16. Will Agnew (Egremont Rangers), 17. Jake Moore (Wath Brow Hornets).

Tries: Wilkinson 7, Davison 25, 70,

Goals: Taylor 1/3

LANCASHIRE UNDER 17’S:1. Curtis Edwards Hampson (Wigan St Patricks), 2. Liam Marshall (Wigan St Patricks), 3. Sean Brown (Orrell St James), 4. Sam Baggerley (Wigan St Patricks), 5. Nial Allen. (Bold Miners), 6. Josh Wood (Orrell St James), 7. Joe Prior (Capt) (Wigan St Patricks), 8. Tom Marsh (Orrell St James), 9. Sam Hollingsworth (Wigan St Patricks), 10. Liam Naughton (Thatto Heath Crusaders), 11. Kieron Sherritt (Wigan St Patricks), 12. Sam Welch (Wigan St Patricks), 13. Jack Swarbrick (Wigan St Patricks). Subs: 14. Josh Crehan (Thatto Heath Ccrusaders), 15. Rob Hamon (Blackbrook Royals), 16. Rob Meadows (Ince Rose Bridge), 17. Tom Smith (Bold Miners).

Tries: Marshall 9, 66, Meadows 32, Brown 34, Prior 41, Goals: Hampson 4/5, Prior 2/2

Half-Time: 4-16

Men of the Match: Luke Davison (Cumbria), Sam Welch (Lancashire)

Steve Manning

BARLA Media Manager

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