It was a beautiful Sunday morning at Kings School, Macclesfield for Cheshire under 16’s fixture against Lancashire under 16’s. Cheshire kicked off up the slight incline with the clubhouse on their right. In the opening minute Cheshire pressured the Lancashire defense before conceding a penalty five minutes into the game for an offside incident. This gave Lancashire the opportunity to kick for position, firmly placing themselves between Cheshire 22 and 10 meter line. For the next 10 minutes the play from both sides remained in the mid-field. Then Lancashire turn up the heat and through some determined passages of play began to press the Cheshire defense.
Lancashire continued to pressurize the Cheshire defense and was camped inside Cheshire’s twenty two. Lancashire’s No9 box kicked which resulted in more pressure for Cheshire to soak up; Josh Brooks caught the ball then pass to Tom Walsh who immediately tackled two meters out from his own goal post from the attacking Lancashire backs. Walsh kept his head and from the ensuing ruck presented the ball to enable Cheshire to clear the ball to touch. From the twenty two lineout Lancashire continued their sustained pressure being awarded two scrum five meters from the Cheshire try line. Lancashire maintained the pressure for a further five minutes until a penalty was award to Cheshire for offside. Cheshire moved quickly and was soon out of their own twenty two. The continued pressure from Lancashire unsettled the Cheshire attack and a knock on meant that Lancashire once more gained possession. From this scrum Lancashire took charge and went over the line but had it disallowed as a result of a forward pass; a let off for Cheshire. From this Cheshire scrum, 10 meters from their try line, Rory Canham passed to Alex Burrage who gave out a beautiful miss pass to Josh Davies who broke out of the Cheshire twenty two with a scything run to take the County side up to the Lancastrian ten meter line. From the resulting ruck Alex Stewart took the ball and made the most amazing side step to give a perfect pass to Broghan Wilson who ran 35m meters to score the first try of the day.
The first half saw both teams making simple errors due to over complication, where often the simple thing was the order of the day. The Cheshire defense in the first half was sound, however their continuity and pace of their game was lacking.
Lancashire kick off the second half and gain possession from their kick, a sloppy start for the home side, and immediately placed Cheshire under enormous pressure and after five minutes scored in the corner, 5pts – 5pts the fly half for Lancashire failed to convert.
From the restart Cheshire responded well and stepped up a gear resulting in bringing play to within five meters of the Lancastrians try line. Lancashire’s put-in was good and the fly half cleared only to find touch just outside the twenty two. A quick throw-in by Jake Davies saw Cheshire on the attack and for George Chatterton to take advantage and score Cheshire’s second unconverted try of the day, 10pts – 5pts.
Play continued much as before back and forth until Cheshire once again showed their true potential in the twenty fourth minute of the second half when Alex Burrage exhibited a perfectly placed grubber kick for Broghan Wilson to chase, gather an go over the line for Cheshire’s third try, again unconverted 15pts – 5pts. Lancashire were not finished yet they came back at Cheshire with a very brave last effort and through constant pressure open up the Cheshire defense in the twenty sixth minute to release their full back who scored under the posts with an excellent try and conversion, 15pts – 12pts.
During the next few minutes Cheshire controlled possession to run the clock down and finish victors 15pts – 12pts. The pace of Cheshire’s performance was not up to their usual standard. They were slow and at times looked sluggish. They need to come out of the blocks with all pistons firing by stepping up the pace from the start. However the Cheshire defense was resolute throughout the game and that will put them in good stead for their final game against Yorkshire next Sunday at Giggleswick.