On a grey, drizzly Cumbrian afternoon Trafford MV travelled to Keswick on a good run of form, seven straight wins in the bag, to face a strong second placed home team, to MV’s disappointment injuries and calls from lower sides for players to fill teams meant they travelled as a fifteen man squad with no substitute cover.
MV kicked off on a still afternoon and exerted early pressure on the home side, a wet pitch and slippy conditions saw several handling errors as players accustomed themselves to conditions.
The early part of the game saw good scrum possession for keswick as they cleared along the touch lines, MV had a slight edge in the lineouts but the teams countered each others efforts. Keswick was looking the more dangerous as the first half played out but MV’s defence was in the main very strong halting Keswicks attacks with sound tackling.
Both sides exchanged penalty efforts, both proving unsuccessful and it seemed that the half would end scoreless although nearly all the pressure was coming from Keswick, Pressure told on MV and a conceded penalty eventually saw Keswick move the ball across their back line to the right-wing Weir to round his man to score wide out for a 5-0 lead on 35 minutes.
MV fought back hard but as the half time approached a driving maul brought breaking ball again on the right for the same wing man Weir to cross again, the missed conversion left the score at half time at 10-0 which based on possession and amount of play was probably a deserved lead.
MV opened the second-half brightly in the loose and with an improved scrum however penalties were causing ball to be lost and possession conceded easily, however a good lineout saw quick ball fed to in form centre Matt Coxon who sliced through the home defence on a good running line to score under the posts from 20 metres.
Pat Eccles converted for MV to bring them right back into reckoning at 10-7. MV was sucker punched as they watched a touch kick stay in play as they all thought it had gone out of play, the hacked on ball was surrounded by five Keswick players with Robinson eventually collecting, without an MV defender in sight to score an easy try. Keswick missed the conversion yet again, this time from in front of the sticks, for a 15-7 lead.
If MV had restricted their penalties the score could well have been a different matter as defence in general was strong and attacks when launched were good, MV managed to force a late penalty which Pat Eccles kicked easily to go 15-10 again putting them with in a chance of snatching the result but Keswick were not to be outdone on the day and they maintained their grip on the game enough to secure the result.
The result saw Keswick go to the top of the Lancs / Cumbria League with MV slipping a place to 7th. This weekend MV welcome 5th placed Wigton to MacPherson Park (M33 6LR) for a 2.15pm kick off. Wigton won their last fixture at home against Bolton 28-22 so a good game should be on the cards. MV are calling for local support to get behind the team and shout them on from the touch lines.
(By Wilf Dooley)