Knutsford win battle, Chapel win war.
The home side got off to a strong start and dominated both territory and possession from the start. Up front Knutsford were dominating in the scrum, and with Crawford returning at 13, the backs were looking threatening and lively. Chapel looked edgy and could not settle into their game.
Despite the Knutsford dominance, Chapel took the lead after their kicker converted his 2nd attempt of the day, and the away side would go further ahead with a converted try following a Knutsford error.
Knutsford then upped their game again, and after some fantastic work in the loose from their pack, the ball was flashed out the line for Crawford to finish off in the corner. Mooney’s conversion attempt was just wide of the mark.
Moments later, the Knutsford backline broke again, this time from their own try line, with Crawford running almost the length of the pitch but stalled just short of the line.
Half Time Knutsford 5 Holmes Chapel 10
Knutsford’s momentum was reduced after the restart, and this was impacted further when they were reduced to 14 men. With the Chapel pack clearly becoming frustrated with the pressure they were under at the set piece, they resorted to their fists and a mass brawl ensued. Chapel were left with 4 men on the deck and a sin bin for their No8. Knutsford’s No3 Owen was harshly shown red for retaliation.
This left Knutsford vulnerable up front and Chapel took advantage of this and ran in a try to extend their lead. With the last play of the game, Chapel drove over, and despite being short of the line the try was awarded to leave a flattering scoreline to the winners in what was a closely fought contest.
Knutsford have a lot of positives to take from the game. Tremendous performances from Paige in both the scrum and the loose, andonce again Robertson dominated the lineout. James had a solid game at 10, Crawford showed what the team have been missing over the last few weeks, and Jones produced some trademark charges up the field. The sending off changed the shape of the game, and Knutsford can only wonder what might have been had the referee not been so harsh against them in his analysis following the fracas.