Yesterday afternoon Mr Hetherington took his year 8 Rugby League team across to St Benedict’s for a match-up which would determine the number 1 and 2 seed in West Cumbria.
The weather seemed to be in a good mood for most of the day until the rain started just as the players met at the school sports hall to get changed for the game. Fast forward 45 minutes and it was kick off time with the conditions under foot wet but the temperature quite mild for December.
It was always going to be a fast paced game as the majority of players on both sides know each other particularly well through their respective club sides.
Whitehaven looked very good with ball in hand and seemed to have the throw of the dice in the early minutes with some strong yards from year 7 prop Dylan Grears. He was constantly trundling up the middle and finding his front for a quick play the ball so that the inevitable safe hands of Daley Stables and Connor Underwood could try to find an opening in the oppositions defence.
The end product for Whitehaven just didn’t come to fruition, it was in fact St Benedict’s who opened the scoring through Harvey Hill crashing his 6th form like frame over the line. The conversion was unsuccessful but the home side were 4-0 up.
Some clever kicking from Harvey Hill and a couple of unforced errors from Whitehaven allowed St Benedict’s good field position. Grit and determination from the Whitehaven side kept the home side from scoring again and the game was well within reach by half time.
After some outstanding half time instructions from Mr Hetherington ? Whitehaven set their sights on levelling the game up. They didn’t have to wait long as slick handling from Stables and Underwood found Blayne Graham who had been unusually quiet in the first half and he managed to squeeze his way over in the corner, conversion unsuccessful 4-4.
St Benedict’s responded almost immediately through Harvey Hill who again crashed over in the corner, the conversion was unsuccessful but the home side had a slender lead of 8-4.
The best try of the game came next and it came via those men Stables and Underwood, the half back used their slick handling to feed the ball out to Graham who again was able to get over in the corner. Realising he should have taken the first conversion Blayne converted his own try and Whitehaven were 10-8 to the good.
Lack of concentration from the immediate kick off gave Benedict’s the ball back and it wasn’t long before Harvey Hill scored an almost exact replica of his previous try in the corner. Thankfully the conversion was an exact replica of The previous one as well as it sailed wide but the home side were now 12-10 to the good.
A good spell of field position and ball possession for Benedict’s saw Harvey Hill power towards the line before offloading to a team mate, who showed that other players actually do know how to put the ball down for a try, Benedict’s were now 6 points ahead going in to the final 5 minutes.
A flurry of possession for Whitehaven saw them carry the ball in to the oppositions half with strong yards from Jack Ainley, Luke Stockton, Mitchell Todd and Dylan Grears. Whitehaven flung the ball from left to right before Curtis Bowes spotted Benedict’s were short on one side and fed the ball out to Underwood who found Luke Stockton to cross over the whitewash. A nervous conversion for everyone on the sideline awaited, luckily the kicker Blayne Graham was the calmest of all and slotted the ball over making the score 16-16.
Whitehaven threw everything at St Benedict’s in the final minute but to no avail, there will be a lot of sore and tired bodies at both schools tomorrow. Another game is scheduled for between the sides in the new year.
St Benedict’s 16
Man of the Match: Daley Stables/Dylan Grears.
Mr T. Hetherington
Head of Year 8