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Saturday 22nd February 2019

Millom  33  -  27  Furness

    The Furness team was met with almost perfect conditions for rugby as they arrived at Millom's Haverigg ground yesterday almost 2 hours ahead of kick off. Playing into the wind and sun Furness started brightly enough and were soon on the scoreboard after a good break by prop Chris Dalton resulted in Jack Budgen going over in the corner for a textbook try. Old warhorse McQuistan, looking markedly slimmer courtesy of his well observed Slimfast diet, narrowly missed with his conversion attempt. Five minutes gone and Furness five points to the good. It was a lead that didn't last very long when following some poor Furness tackling the oldest player on the pitch barrelled his way over for Millom's first try of the day. The successful conversion put Millom two points in front. Furness came straight back through captain Els who was high tackled within sniffing distance of the Millom line. Some thought this warranted a penalty try but not referee Firby who decided a yellow card for the offending Millom player was sufficient.


    Furness kept up the pressure and a few minutes later winger Hayward was unlucky not to cross the line. It was after this that Furness started to lose their way with missed tackles, midfield mix ups and dropped balls. Millom took full advantage and after Furness made a mess of clearing their lines flopped on the ball for their second try of the afternoon. Millom 12 Funess 5 with what threatened to be an uncomfortable five minutes left before half time. As it happened Furness managed to get over the Millom line just before half time but lost the ball in the act of scoring. So half time arrived with Furness seven points adrift but more than capable of making up the shortfall.

    The half time team talk identified all the areas where improvement was needed however despite this the bad habits of the first half continued in the second half with Furness continuing to make  poor choices and too many unforced errors. Millom were making a game of it but most of the pressure that Furness were under stemmed from their own mistakes. One area of the game where Millom had the upper hand throughout however was the scrum so when Furness took a clean ball from a scrum in their own 22 the expectation was a long kick down the pitch. Unfortunately Millom anticipated this and having charged the kick down scored their third try under the sticks. The easy conversion made it Millom 19 Funess 5. There then followed a purple patch for Milom with two more tries in rapid succession, both converted,  making the score Millom 33 Furness 10 with ten minutes left to play. A seemingly impossible task lay ahead for Furness. It was at this point that a previously error strewn and lacklustre Furness side decided that they'd better do something about the scoreline or they might lose. There then followed three Furness tries in seven minutes and how easy it all looked!! Unfortunately it wasn't enough and with the home side breathing a huge sigh of relief that there weren't another couple of minutes on the clock, the ref blew his whistle for the end of the game. Millom 33 Furness 27. Not Furness's finest hour but with a makeshift half back combination and several players new to the side (and new to rugby union!) all of whom acquitted themselves well, with hindsight not a bad effort with the final ten minute spell showing just what the team can do when it applies itself.


    Man of the match for Furness was Corne Els whilst Josh Banham won the raffle. So along with two bonus points for five tries and losing by six points not an entirely wasted Saturday afternoon. A brief stop in Broughton on the journey back to Barrow was greatly  improved when a car being driven by Hawcoat Park's Scott Kaighan pulled up to impart the news that they'd lost to Whitehaven 66 - 7. McQuistan was quick to point out that this was a score that Steve Perry would have struggled with!!


   No rugby union match at Furness next Saturday, however, there will be a rugby league match, the Barton Townley cup fixture between Roose Pioneers and Barrow Island with a number of Furness players taking part. Kick off 2pm followed at 4.45pm by Wales v England on the big screen. It promises to be a great afternoon so get yourselves there.


Finally McQuistan asked me if I'd go easy on him this week. I'm happy to oblige the aging, balding, badly dressed prima donna!!