Carnforth 24-10 Chorley

FOLLOWING the postponement last weekend Carnforth finally welcomed Chorley to Kellet Road in a battle that pitted two teams vying for third place in the league.

The pitch was inspected on Friday night, with the under soli heating left on overnight and the pitch was perfect for the game, the only game that took place in North Lancs Two on the day.

Whilst Carnforth have been at the top end of the league status for a while, it has not been unnoticed that Chorley have been galloping up the rails with some excellent wins, and they came up the M6 full of confidence and looking to gain a first victory over Carnforth this season.

The first two games between the sides saw Carnforth win by more than 70 in the cup game and a narrow 10–5 win in the league so the incentive of a treble was on for the hosts.

Matthew Lloyd came in on the wing for Carnforth, Graham Rich started on the flank which saw Dan Blenkharn move into the front row alongside Dave Hones and Darren Winning.

Skipper John Greenland packed down alongside Lee Launders in the second row.

Chorley started with a well-worked blind side move – it seemed Carnforth were up against the Barbarians with the mixture of coloured socks in the Chorley squad.

Carnforth soon settled though with half backs Gavin Barton and Mathew Short pulling the strings for the home team.

Barton put his side in front when a quick penalty saw the scrum half power over the line, Short converted.

Carnforth seemed to dwell on this and allowed the visitors back into the game almost immediately when an excellent move saw the impressive flanker Ringo Wu provide the pass for a try.

Carnforth went back downfield and after Rich almost scored from a line-out, Jason Short and Barton linked up to allow Mathew Short to step back inside to score a well-taken try, his conversion extending the lead.

On 20 minutes and a third try was scored as Chorley were penalised time and time again.

Barton took the quick penalty before offloading to flanker Greg Sykes who powered through and over the line for his first try of the season.

At 19–5 and the home support were thinking off a decent scoreline but Carnforth seemed to have a dose of white line fever and this let Chorley off the hook.

Chorley had a bad day with injuries and three scrum halves were used during the game.

They came back at Carnforth with some excellent work but the Carnforth backs stood firm, Joe Harrison, Nick Hamer and Lloyd making excellent tackles.

With the last play of the half Chorley had a penalty, no time for a line-out and possibly one last surge for the try line, but they kicked it out.

Carnforth made some early changes in the second half, Gavin Berry, Tom Harrison and Josh Wilson all making their way on to the pitch.

Skipper Greenland almost scored his first try of the season as he received the ball 25 yards out but as ever he tried to give somebody else the glory.

Tom Harrison almost went through for a try but he was well tackled just short of the line as Carnforth kept the visitors back in their own half.

The home crowd knew that Chorley were not out of the game with their counter attacking rugby skills in the backs and the hosts had to be alert in defence.

With 15 minutes to go a fourth try and a bonus point was claimed, a counter attack of their own saw Carnforth move out of defence, full-back Ollie Cousins put winger Phil Metcalfe away, he went down the line before offloading superbly to Joe Harrison who rampaged his way over the line.

Chorley lost a centre to the sin bin for 10 minutes after swearing at referee Mr Murray, something which isn’t needed in the game of rugby.

Chorley refused to lie down and they came back with an excellent try, a superb solo effort.

Carnforth brought on Adam Seaton in the front row, a player who is improving every game.

Berry almost improved the lead with an excellent run down the wing but again well marshalled in the defence.

Chorley almost scored again but Cousins was first back to the ball to save a certain try.

The last few minutes saw Chorley camped in the Carnforth 22 but the defence held out for the five points on offer.

Jason Short took the players’ man of the match, John Greenland took the Chorley vote but Lee Launders can count himself unlucky on both counts with an excellent 80 minutes again.

Carnforth: O Cousins, P Metcalfe, J Harrison, N Hamer, M Lloyd (G Berry), M Short, G Barton, D Winning, D Hones (J Wilson), D Blenkharn (A Seaton), L Launders, J Greenland (capt), G Rich (T Harrison), G Sykes, J Short. Replacement: C Walker.