CARNFORTH travelled to Hightown, Liverpool, at the weekend to face a dress rehearsal for the Lancashire Bowl semi-final with St Mary’s OB.
The hosts had some useful backs and were finding gaps in the Carnforth defence, their stand-off and centre both had electric pace and they were the pivotal players for their team.
From a loose clearance kick by Carnforth, the hosts gathered the ball and sent it down the back line to allow the winger to score in the corner.
The conversion from the touchline was an excellent effort that drifted wide.
Carnforth came back into the game with Ollie Cousins, John Greenland, Greg Sykes and man of the match Graham Rich making some breaks, but strong defensive work kept Carnforth from crossing the try line.
Two successful penalties gave the hosts an 11-point lead with five minutes remaining in the half.
The visitors got on the scoresheet when Cousins made the initial break, Sykes picked up and timed his pass superbly to winger Phil Metcalfe scored in the corner to make it 11–5 at half-time.
Carnforth’s normal slow starts to the second half continued as a penalty inside the first two minutes was followed by a well-worked score in the far corner to take a 19–5 lead.
Carnforth made their replacements when Barton and John Edmondson came on for Steve Collins and Giddings, Barton went to scrum half, Sykes to flanker and Wilson moved up to a new position of hooker.
Barton immediately got involved and Carnforth upped a gear. However St Mary’s were still dangerous on the attack and Carnforth had to be alert in defence.
Cousins, Barton and Metcalfe all made surges into the home 22 but a mixture of bad handling, wrong options and questionable refereeing decisions kept Carnforth out.
Cousins did slot a penalty to reduce the gap to 11 but Carnforth could not find a way through the determined defence as St Mary’s played out of the game in control to register a victory and the upper hand for the semi-final.
Carnforth face Aspull this weekend in a league encounter and despite their lowly league position this will be another tough game.
Carnforth: O Cousins, P Metcalfe, J Harrison, T Giddings (J Edmondson), C Albiston, M Short (capt), G Sykes, L Moorhouse, S Collins (G Barton), J Waterhouse, I Hill, D Winning, J Wilson, G Rich, J Greenland.
Man of the Match: Graham Rich.
Thanks to Mark Waterhouse for the transport.