Holmes Chapel 1st XV drive over Helsby with ease.
HC RUFC 1st XV Helsby 5 – 29 Holmes Chapel
Chapel had already won at Helsby in the Cheshire Plate group stages and were looking for a repeat performance to keep pace with the leaders in South Lancashire / Cheshire 3. Director of Rugby Matt Bowden made sure the team did not underestimate their opposition, reminding them of the complacent performance that resulted in defeat at Capenhurst a few weeks earlier. Helsby always provide tough opposition, and Chapel’s younger pack needed to rise to the challenge to ensure they left with a victory.
The home side made the better start, but it was Chapel who drew first blood with an individual try from the in-form Ed O’Hare. He intercepted a pass in midfield deep in his own territory and sprinted through the gap. The full back was covering but O’Hare chipped the ball over his head and re-gathered on the full to leave himself in the clear and score under the posts. Doug Canavan added the conversion to put the visitors 7-0 ahead. Chapel then began to take control and had further opportunities to score before Ged Wragg doubled their lead when he chased an Ed Meyrick kick and hacked through to score. Again, Canavan was successful with the conversion and brought the score to 14-0.
The visitors had the momentum and when Helsby conceding a penalty, Fyffe kicked to the corner so the pack could attack the opposition line. The ball was caught cleanly and driven forwards before Neil Almond broke off and ploughed over for the try. This time Canavan couldn’t convert but the lead was a healthy 19 points. Helsby then started to get back into the game and following some pressure in Chapel territory, they charged down an attempted clearance kick and reacted first to narrow the deficit with an unconverted try. Fortunately for Chapel, the home side conceded a penalty shortly before the break, which Canavan nailed to bring the half time score to 22-5.
The second half continued to be a hard-fought contest, with both sets of forwards happily getting stuck into the rucks and mauls. After 10 minutes, Chapel extended their lead when they won a lineout in the Helsby half and attacked along the back line. Kristian Clowes made no mistake with the finish, and Canavan kicked his third conversion of the afternoon. Chapel had hoped to push on and record a big score but Helsby have never been a side to give up easily and they upped their game for the last quarter of the match.
The referee started to penalise Chapel at the breakdown leading to the home side dominating possession and territory, but they were unable to seriously threaten the visitors try line as the Chapel defence held up well under pressure. Both teams ended the match with 14 men as Bowden and his opposite number were sin-binned but there was little further incident and the game drew to a close.
There were some good performances from Chapel, particularly from 18 year old second row Jack Baskerville, who had one of his best games for the club so far. The backs also deserve credit for making the most of their chances and not allowing Helsby to break through in the second half.
The two sides face each other again on Saturday in the return leg of the Cheshire Plate group stages. A win would almost guarantee Chapel’s place in the semi-finals of the competition so they will be determined to continue their good form at Station Road. Kick off will be at 2.15pm and all spectators are welcome.
Holmes Chapel would like to thank Wymans Ltd and Hopewiser Ltd for their continued support.
HC RUFC 2nd XV Ashton-on-Mersey 30 – 7 Holmes Chapel
Holmes Chapel 2nd team traveled to Ashton on Mersey on Saturday looking to extend their 6 game winning streak against an Ashton side who are always a tough opposition.
Ashton started the livelier of the two sides and right at the start won a penalty in front of the Chapel posts and made no mistake in taking an early 3-0 lead. Chapel struggled to get into the game in the early stages and through a combination of giving away penalties at the break down, some excellent running from Ashton and poor tackling the home side grabbed two deserved tries, both of which were not converted. Chapel were 13-0 down with less than 20 minutes played.
Chapel then woke up and started to impose themselves on the game. The visitors then had series of penalties and sustained pressure inside to opposition 22 but were unable to turn the possession into points.
With the 1st half coming towards an end Ashton managed to make a break against the run of play to score a converted try making the half-time score 20-0 to the home side.
Chapel kicked off the second half, with Ashton running the ball straight back, Jimmy Stevens made a big tackle on the half way line and Chapel managed to turn the ball over, leading to Danny Kennedy making a 50 yard break and getting over for his 6th try of the season, converted by Joe Maddock to make the score 20-7.
Chapel then started to dominate possession of the ball with a good display by the forwards at the set pieces and with some excellent mauling, but with the home side tiring they were unable to find the cutting edge to get over the try line.
Ashton were awarded a penalty as the game was wearing on which was put over. Then with the last play of game Ashton scored another converted try from a scrum on the Chapel 5 metre line to make the final score 30-7.
The 2nds will be hoping to get back to winning ways next week as they make the short journey to local rivals Sandbach.