Culcheth Eagles 18 Blackpool Stanley 8
NWC Development Cup – Culcheth Eagles u15 18 Blackpool Stanley u15 8
On 15th March, a hardcore of just 12 Stanley players travelled to Culcheth to face the full 17 man Eagles squad on their home turf.
In the opening minutes, the visitors were caught on-the-hop by a wily try from the Eagles’ Loose Forward. However, a bounce off the sticks left the try unconverted and the visitors spurred on in their fight back. An assertive reply came from the Stanley Loose Forward, Sean Craven, who found the try line near the corner flag.The difficult angle meant Captain, Nathan Winter’s, powerful kick fell slightly wide leaving the teams all square and at the start of an epic first-half stand-off.
For the next twenty-five minutes, Stanley’s pre-season defensive training paid dividends as the dozen visitors held their hosts at bay. A nervous moment came 28 minutes in but a fumble at the try line deprived the Eagles of further points.
After changing ends, and with the luxury of fresh legs, the hosts were re-energised and able to put Stanley on the back foot. Despite their fatigue, there were storming runs from Stanley Scrum-Half Jordan Hindley and strong forward drives from Connor Willis, Matty Stelfox and Danny Stretton. All were all denied, and the hosts took advantage of their time in possession to score eight more points.
Stanley then had a number of oh-so-close nibbles at the try line, not least when Hooker Phil Hardy-Dearness appeared to touch the ball down before being pushed back and Olly Tribe taking a cheeky run towards the corner flag but being ruled in touch by a hawk-eyed referee. Quick-footed defence from Dean Harding, Harry Trask and Ben Hindley, did a creditable job of keeping the Eagles at bay, but after some bulldozing, the home-side scored and converted another try – putting them twelve points ahead.
Stanley still battled on and a moment of brilliance came in the closing minutes with Stanley back in attack. The boys managed to whisk the ball wide to winger Matty Webster who with sprinter’s speed picked up four points and showed what could have been. With the final-whistle score at Eagles 18, Stanley 8, the Stanley Supporters were unanimous that a boost in squad numbers will have them on winning form this season. Find out how you can join them at www.blackpoolstanley.com.
Trys: Sean Craven (1), Matty Webster (1)