Momentum builds towards title as Anselmians power on


Saints progress towards the North 2 West league title had been put on hold for 5 weeks. First, a home game scheduled for 18 December was postponed because of a Covid outbreak in the Bolton camp; then there was the Christmas and New Year holiday break and another postponed game on 8 January when Orrell’s pitch was declared unplayable being largely under water. So, there was some speculation about the team’s readiness to continue its impressive onslaught on the divisional championship.

On a bright crisp afternoon with a firm pitch and only a light breeze, the conditions were perfect for a fast, open game which has been Saints’ default style at home. But would the long lay-off have blunted Anselmians sharpness.

Anselmians home spectators’ hearts were in mouths when Cockermouth started impressively, holding the home team’s normally dominant scrummage, tackling fiercely and striking hard in midfield. But Saint’s own defence was, as always, magnificent and the visitors never threatened to break through.

There was no hint of staleness in Anselmians handling and continuity, and they were able to wear down Cockermouth’s defence and, after 16 minutes, the visitors ran out of cover when they were stretched left, right, and left again for Andy Cummings to cross the line unopposed for the first of his two tries of the afternoon. Dai Morley converted.

It took another 11 minutes for Saints to stretch Cockermouth again, this time with Steve Brooks to appear in midfield for an easy route to the posts and his first of a brace, too. Morley added the extras.

Saints’ forwards were coming into their own with a series of impressive line-outs. From a penalty line-out 20 metres out, their well-rehearsed driven maul took them over for hooker Dan Salisbury to touch down after 36minutes with Dai Morley converting from wide out. 

This was an impressive first half performance by both teams and a real contest for the 300 or so spectators to enjoy. But there were signs that Saints were starting to ramp up the pace and that Cockermouth were starting to tire under pressure.

Half Time 21-0

As threatened, Saints came out for the second period firing on all cylinders. It took just 7 minutes to wear down the gallant Cockermouth defence when Tommy Banks’ powerful run rewarded him with a try in the corner. The visitors were starting to make mistakes under sustained pressure and suffered a yellow card. But, then, 3 minutes into the sin-binning, showed commendable fortitude to strike back with their own converted try after an impressive sequence and miss-out pass. Were they about to get into the game? The answer came quickly, after just 3 minutes, when another powerful Saints’ maul carried the pack over the line for Steve Brooks to claim his second try. Another Tommy Banks’ try came quickly, too, when he surged from 50 metres, dummying the last line of the Cockermouth defence to score close the posts for his second of the afternoon. Two more points for Morley, too. 

To their credit, Cockermouth did not capitulate, but they just could not contain the tide of Saints’ attacks and conceded 5 more tries from: Danny Salisbury his second, Andy Cummings also his second, John Bonner, Ewan Nolan and Tommy Banks for his hat-trick in a Man of the Match performance plus, a penalty try after 77 minutes when a desperate interception attempt went wrong trying to cut-out a scoring pass in the corner.

Despite the score, Cockermouth are not a bad side but, at the same time, Saints’ performance was certainly worthy of the score. Let’s hope that the prospective league champions can carry this form into next week’s away fixture at Warrington.

Full Time 76-07

15 Andrew Cummings
14 James Whitehouse
13 Thomas Banks
12 Ransford Otutaha
11 Adam Bramhall
10 David Morley
9 Liam Sadler
1 Stephen Brooks
2 Daniel Salisbury
3 Derek Salisbury
4 Jack Richards
5 Niall Cavanagh
6 William Grabe
7 Thomas Gilbert
8 Ewan Nolan
Anselmians Subs
S1 Jonathan Bonner
S2 Kellum Friday
S3 Benjamin Sadler

15 Johnathon Crichton
14 Daniel Fielden
13 Ben Irving
12 John Irving
11 Harry Oates
10 Edward Gate
9 Luke Armstrong
1 Adam Brough
2 Thomas Peet
3 Robbie Skelton
4 Anthony Davies
5 Ryan Hetherington
6 Alex Butterfield
7 Samuel Wilson
8 William Gate
Cockermouth Subs
S1 Stefan Highton
S2 Daniel Martin
S3 Oliver Gray

Anselmians 1st XV’s next game is away to Warrington on Saturday 22 January for a 2.15pm kick-off.

Image credit: Derek Salisbury Snr

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