Saturday 13th September
Aspatria Eagles 67 Furness 12
Having called off the previous Saturday's fixture due to the lack of a front row, Furness were met with the same problem ahead of yesterday's rearranged fixture at Aspatria. Despite the best efforts of captain Corne Els and coach Dai Humphreys due to a combination of injuries, work commitments and a lack of commitment amongst some Furness travelled with 12 men. The twelve in question were: Alex Mason, Keiran Mason, Ben Hughes, Joel Thomas, Andy Brannon, Cam McClure, Sam Wicks, Rhys Humphreys, Iestyn Humphreys, Russ Birch, Jack Budgen and Dave Gilmour. The club is grateful to all of them for their commitment in very difficult circumstances.
As for the game, Aspatria kindly lent Furness two players so the game kicked off with 14 in the blue shirts of Furness and 15 in the red and black of Aspatria. Uncontested scrums meant that at least Furness could look forward to receiving some ball to play with. The tone of the game was set as early as the fifth minute when, after a bright start by Furness, the home side scored their first try of the day out wide after a catch and drive from a line out. This was followed a couple of minutes later by Aspatria' s second try of the day this time from their left winger, who spent most of the afternon ahead of the kicker, gathering a cross field kick and outstripping the defence. With both tries converted Furness were up against it. A few minutes later, try number three was scored followed shortly thereafter by number four. Again both were successfully converted so with 21 minutes gone it was Aspatria 28 points to the good.
There then followed what was probably Furness's best spell of the game, resulting in a well deserved try in the far corner for stand off Iestyn Humphreys who was having a fine all round game. Andy Brannon at scrum half, Russ Birch in the centre and young Sam Wicks on the right wing were two others who caught the eye. The brief Furness comeback came to a sudden halt when they were dispossessed in midfield resulting in Aspatria's fifth try of he half. With half time approaching Furness were desperate to prevent another score however despite their best efforts they couldn't prevent Aspatria getting over the line once more. Half time Aspatria 38 Furness 5.
The second half started much as the first had finished with Aspatria pressing and just as it looked as though they were about to score their first try of the half the ball came out on the Furness side of a ruck and landed in the hands of Iestyn Humphreys in his own dead ball area. Did he kick it? Did he not. Instead he set off on one of his many mazy runs of the afternoon and aided and abetted by Joel Thomas, making a welcome return to Furness colours after several years away, took Furness 90 metres down the pitch. Unfortunately it didn't translate into points and within a couple of minutes the watching Furness faithful were greeted with the depressingly familiar sight of a home player crossing the Furness try line. Two more followed, both converted making it Aspatria 57 Furness 5. There then followed Furness's second decent spell of the game when a looping long pass from Dave Gilmour put Joel Thomas over in the far corner. A well taken conversion by Iestyn Humphreys added seven points to the Furness tally. Not to be outdone however Aspatria still had time to score two more tries making the final score Aspatria 69 Furness 12. Not the most auspicious game that's ever been played in Furness colours but the effort of the lads who made the journey can only be commended. Perhaps the highlight of an otherwise gloomy afternoon was when towering Furness second row Jack Budgen, having been handed off several metres by one of the home side's larger players, brought the same player down as he trampled all over him.
So, not a good afternoon. There's an awful lot more that could be said but this isn't the place to say it. Regrouping is the order of the day ahead of next Saturday's home league game against Creighton.