Narrow defeat for Holmes Chapel
Holmes Chapel 25-28 Newton Le Willows
Chapel started well, and were securing their own ball from both scrums and line-outs. The scrum was going partucularly well, with the front row of David Flood, Jim Stevens, and Al Goodwin winning several against the head. Newton were becoming frustrated and resorted to giving away penalties through shoulder charges and high tackles, which allowed Partington to kick a drop goal and penalty to put the home side 6-0 ahead. However, poor reactions to a loose ball from the restart gifted Newton possession and they took full advantage by working an overlap and scoring the first try of the game. The conversion was added to make the score 7-6. The try may have been against the run of play, but Newton had showed what they could do when they had possession. The scores remained the same until half time, but Chapel were still confident of regaining the lead.
Unfortunately it was Newton who went further ahead after only five minutes of the second period to make the score 14-6. However, Chapel hit back almost straight away when they put pressure on Newton from the restart and forced a knock-on. From the scrum, Cagna charged through through the Newton defence and offloaded to Jim Bowbeer in support. He was tackled but showed great skill to pop the ball up for Jon Griffin to dive over the line. The conversion brought the margin back to a single point. For the next 10 minutes Chapel were well on top and it seemed only a matter of time before the next score came. However, a mix-up in midfield gave Newton the ball in their own 22 and again they took advantage of the mistake to break away and score.
The lead was increased when Newton turned over the ball near the Chapel line and went over for another try. At 28-13, the game looked all but over, however Chapel did show some fighting spirit to force themselves back into the game. Bowbeer went over for a try after Ed Meyrick darted through and made a great pass to send him under the posts. Partington went narrowly wide with a couple of difficult penalty attempts, as Chapel continued to search for a comeback victory. Shortly before full time, Bowbeer burrowed his way over for his second try to make the gap 3 points. The conversion missed, but Chapel would have one last chance from the restart to take the lead. Unfortunately, the match ended in an anti-climax as the ball was spilled and the full time whistle signalled the end of the game.
Next week, Chapel travel to unbeaten Oldershaw. With nothing to lose, they will look to recapture their early season form and try and put one over on the table-topping side.