The winter sun, manicured playing surface, and vocal home support should have gone some way to provide home advantage in this fixture, which has always been a challenging contest. Pre-game preparation under coach Heagerty (and staff) clearly focussed on performance, and the intensity of play required to both keep possession and move ‘through phases’. The first ten minutes produced a confident Cestrian performance, breaking the gain line to ruck and counter ruck, before line speed released a scything run on the left wing for a converted home try.

That unfortunately was to be the only score for the home team. The next 20 minutes saw an equally balanced contest between the teams, but when a missed penalty for Cheshire occurred at 32 mins, this was seized upon by the visitors who responded with their own try from out wide. Unfortunately followed in close succession by both a penalty and penalty try for infringement at the maul. Too many errors by the young Cesrtrian’s conceded vital points. There were unfortunate injuries for the home team to get a firm foothold to defend against simple ‘blitz’ and ‘sweep’ tactics of the visitors.

The second half, although displaying some good individual skills and phases from Cestrian set piece was fractious and error strewn, handing advantage away to a drilled opposition. Coming from behind is part of any Rugby game’s due process, but staying together as a team is a necessary part of improvement. This, the young Cestrians clearly demonstrated, being reflective of their performance and requirements before leaving the field of play and at debrief. Final Score 7. 34

The immediate performance review has already commenced, and further training sessions are already in place to focus on the next 80 minutes play. Cheshire team manager, Ian Stanton, after the game said  “ This wasn’t a fixture where we could afford to make any errors, we came up short  and that hurts ,the next two games are now more of a challenge, but this team must  take away the positives  that were demonstrated and learn from this experience “

Thanks must be made to the travelling supporters and Bowdon RUFC for hosting the fixture.

Nick Jones
Cheshire RFU