Egremont away, never an easy fixture. On a dull, grey February morning the Furness cause wasn't helped by Adam Nicholson's last minute cry off. So it was with 16 men that Furness set off up the west coast, the weather worsening all the time. The game kicked off under floodlights and almost from the kick off Furness had the home side under pressure resulting in a 35 metre penalty which replacement kicker Joe Mallinson, playing in the centre with his back row partner Rhys Studt, put just wide. Furness continued to play some good rugby and from an excellent Taputu pass left wing Ryan Cunningham beat three men and went over in the corner. Mallinson's conversion narrowly missed but 15 minutes gone and Furness five points to the good.
With Craig McKinnon barking like a Sea Life seal, much to the bafflement of the Egremont players, the next ten minutes of the game was notable only for the number of injuries to the home side. More good work from Furness involving a slick passing movement started by Studt and continued by Ashton and Brown resulted in Cunningham again going over in the corner. Thirty minutes gone, Egremont 0 Furness 10. An Egremont penalty a few minutes later reduced the deficit and the Furness cause was further affected when Mallinson was yellow carded for daring to suggest that an Egremont player had led with his elbow -
By the time the second half started the rain had well and truly set in and the away support retreated to the dugout leaving club chairman Reid ploughing a valiant lone furrow and getting soaking wet, running the line. Furness started the half well with Tom Brannon making a tremendous break through the middle. Some good Furness pressure was somewhat undone when a lapse in concentration allowed Egremont to wriggle over in the bottom corner. The missed conversion put Egremont two points behind with plenty of time still to play. There then followed the move of the match, with James Tyson (getting better with every game) taking the ball off the top of the line, a quick transfer through the hands of Brannon and evergreen 48 year old stand off Steve Neale slipping a crisp short pass to Mallinson allowing him an unopposed run in under the posts. The conversion gave Furness a deserved nine point lead going into the last quarter of the game: a last quarter notable only for three more yellow cards to Furness, two to Furness's shortest players, Nueto and Brown for high tackles and a third to Els for a crime unspecified. So with Furness down to 12 men at one stage it was no great surprise when to much whooping and hollering from the home support Egremont managed a second try. Another missed conversion made it Egremont 13 Furness 17 with eight minutes to play. With the home crowd now in a frenzy, with most of the play in the bottom corner, the Furness pack, with the Englishman Scott, the Welshman Sweet and the Irishman Ward to the fore held the Egremont forwards at bay. When the referee eventually blew his whistle it heralded a well deserved Furness victory and a journey home notable only for Craig McKinnon allowing his son and heir Jordan Ashton to win a rigged game of killer pool in the Manor and the failure of the travelling players and support to have a whip round for the bus driver!!
Next week Windermere away in the cup. A 35 seater bus will be leaving Furness around 11 returning at 10. For a small contribution spectators will be welcome.