Holmes Chapel unsettle Knutsford visitors
Holmes Chapel 30
Holmes Chapel 1st XV completed the double over their local rivals from Knutsford last Saturday with a convincing victory at Station Road. Mark Concar was brought into the front row, with Mike Cottam back from injury at Number 8 following the bad news that Mark Mcenaney had suffered a broken ankle towards the end of the previous game against Eagle.
All Chapel players and spectators wish Mark a speedy recovery from his injury and hope to see him back in a Chapel shirt at the start of next season. In the previous game between the two sides, Chapel only secured victory with a late penalty and the forwards knew they had under-performed that day, which made them determined to prove a point against a very competitive and physical Knutsford pack.
Chapel started the match well, and were winning their set pieces comfortably while managing to disrupt the Knutsford platform to prevent them from winning any decent possession. As well as his propping duties, Concar was putting in some big tackles round the fringes and
stopping the visitors from gaining any momentum. Shortly after the Knutsford kicker had missed with a penalty attempt, Chapel scored the first try of the afternoon through Lee Cagna. Following some good attacking play, Ed Meyrick chipped a ball into the Knutsford 22, which was spilled by the full-back and Cagna pounced to open the scoring.
Doug Canavan nailed a difficult conversion to make the score 7-0 after 15 minutes of play. Knutsford then managed to put on some pressure and spent a fair amount of time in Chapel territory, although they never seriously threatened the try-line. Another missed penalty was all they had to show for their efforts and when the home side raised the pace of the game the Knutsford defence was forced to concede an easy penalty in front of their own posts.
Canavan made no mistake and the score became 10-0. Only a couple of minutes later, the lead was increased again when an attack down the left hand side created a try for Ed O’Hare. Slick passing in the backs and a short chip over the defence by Captain Matt Bowden saw player of the season contender O’Hare race through to gather the ball and dive over for a try in the corner.
The conversion was missed but Chapel held a 15-0 advantage. As Chapel learned in the first game between the two sides, Knutsford don’t give up without a fight and they soon had another chance to score but the kicker missed his third penalty in a row. However, he made amends when just on the stroke of half time he found a gap in the Chapel defensive line to sprint over from 30 metres out and put the away side on the scoreboard. The conversion was added and the teams would turn around with the score at 15-7 to Chapel.
The second half didn’t start well for Chapel with Knutsford being awarded a kickable penalty in the first minute. Again it was missed, but they remained in Chapel territory and when Cottam was given 10 minutes in the sin-bin, the resultant penalty was knocked over to narrow the deficit to 5 points. However, Chapel responded fantastically to these setbacks as the forwards started to really take control of the game. Some excellent mauling took them deep into Knutsford’s half and when Bowden broke down the blindside of a ruck, second row Darren Saffill was on his shoulder to charge over the line.
Canavan’s successful conversion made the score 22-10 and the home side continued to dominate. Jim Bowbeer was first to every loose ball and Chapel’s aggressive defence was starting to create turnovers. They were awarded a penalty, which was kicked to the corner to set up an attacking position. The line-out was caught and mauled forward, and when Bowbeer took the ball on for a second drive he was held up just short of the line. Saffill made sure the chance was not wasted when he powered over from the base of the ruck and scored his third try in two games.
This time the conversion was unsuccessful but at 27-10 the game was all but over as a contest. The remainder of the match saw Chapel on the wrong end of a succession of penalty decisions, which allowed Knutsford to create a few scoring chances but the defence was able to keep them at bay. Canavan added a further 3 points with a penalty, and although Knutsford managed to work an overlap the final pass went forwards to seal a twenty-point margin of victory for the home side.
This result means Chapel haven’t been defeated in 5 games and moves them up to 4th in the table. Despite some availability issues next week, they will look to upset Championship chasing Liverpool Collegiate at Station Road on Saturday. Kick off is at 3pm.
Holmes Chapel RUFC would like to thank Club Sponsors Pochins, Wymans, anmd AUF Leasing for their continued support and Holmes Chapel Fish Bar for sponsoring the match