Trafford MV Rugby travelled to the Eden Valley in Cumbria to play Kirkby Stephen team Upper Eden RFC on Oct 1.
In good conditions MV took the field in confident mood against their lower placed opposition but soon found the going tough as their game failed to gel.
Winning good scrummage and line-out ball MV played into the wind and tried to play an expansive running style of rugby.
However frequent handling errors and poor ball retention in the tackle zone often resulted in lost opportunities or putting themselves under pressure.
Looking good in the early stages MV spent time in the home ’22 and on two occasions they chose to kick for attacking positions down the touch-line when, in retrospect, an attempt on goal may have been the wiser option.
MV were winning good ball but play was lateral and there was no punch in midfield to get them over the goal line and behind the home defence – who were tackling with determination as they chased their first win of the season.
Despite plentiful possession it came as no surprise to see a failed MV attack lead to pressure on their own try line and the home side to force their way over the line from close range forward force.
With the try close to the posts the conversion was something of a formality as Upper Eden went 7-0 ahead – a lead they took into half time.
With the wind now in their favour MV sought to find more field position but again they failed in their ball retention skills allowing turnovers to occur and pressure to be relieved.
Pressure did bring points as MV battled their way back into contention, scrum half Patrick Eccles landed 2 good penalty goals to get right back in the game at 7-6 as both sides worked very hard in defence.
Upper Eden brought the game back to MV with a good drive up the middle from the forwards, the ball was them moved to the right where a missed tackle in the MV centres brought space out wide for the home winger to stroll in untouched.
The conversion added made it 14-6. With time running out MV threw everything they had and eventually good forward play drew the close defence in for no 9 Eccles to snipe in from close range, his own conversion bringing MV to within a point at 14-13.
Desperate defence saw Eden hold out for the win and MV came home feeling dejected having seen another game they should have won slip away.
A losing bonus point was some small consolation and MV must learn quickly how to secure wins and how to manage games to effect the required outcome. Ball retention and clinical finishing is a must for any chance of success in this difficult Lancs / Cumbria League.
This weekend Hawcoat Park RFC from Barrow will be the opponents at MV’s MacPherson Park, M33 6LR and MV really need a good home win to ease pressures in the lower half of the table. The touch-line at MV will be boosted by MV’s Former Players Association who are hosting one of their regular re-unions – if you have played for MV at any time over the years feel free to come on down and meet old teammates and enjoy the game – kick off 3.00pm
MV’s mini / junior section is now in full flow and with over 80 new recruits across the age groups from 5 years upwards the fields at TMV are filled with fun-loving young rugby players learning their skills and enjoying their sport every Sunday morning at 10.30am. Come on down and give Trafford MV a try !
By Wilf Dooley
(Image: Trafford MV)