Cumbria end the County Shield season on a high after beating Staffordshire

Workington Zebras' Sean Murphy: Scored for Cumbria against Staffordshire
Workington Zebras' Sean Murphy: Scored for Cumbria against Staffordshire

Cumbria 38-22 Staffordshire

Cumbria ended the County Shield season on a high when they won 38-22 against Staffordshire at Trentham Fields, Longdon.

It had been a difficult competition for both teams, with heavy losses each to Durham and Leicestershire, which left them contesting the wooden spoon.

Cumbria had to comeback from an early 14-0 deficit and were still behind 19-14 at the break, before storming back to win the game.

Team manager Mark Richardson said: “It was a really good team effort after some early mistakes had handed them the initiative. We got back on terms before conceding another try before half-time.

“But, in the second half, we played some really good rugby against the wind.

“Carlisle flanker Henry Wainwright had an outstanding game, while there was an excellent contribution from Egremont full-back Brad Jackson who came on early in the second half.”

Staffordshire had started strongly and piled on early pressure until a loose ball was hacked forward and chased down by Harry Titley for the opening try. It was converted by Jona Nabetelevu.

The visitors could not find any respite from the assault as Staffs rumbled back into the Cumbria half.

Ethan Walker’s sublime kick and chase saw him collect to tear through the defence for the second Staffordshire try. This time, Charlie Maskrey added the conversion.

With 25 minutes gone, the visitors broke out for the first time and Tom Pickthall got away to score Cumbria’s opening try which Glenn Weightman converted.

That sparked Cumbria into life and they continued to build momentum, resulting in a second try.

Weightman dummied five yards out and then strode over for the score which he converted.

Staffordshire responded by camping out on the Cumbria line and the visitors had to repel a series of concentrated attacks.

Finally, a solid Staffordshire scrum provided the base for some slick hands to ship the ball along the line for Nabetelevu to fly in at the corner and re-take the lead, with the referee’s whistle signalling the end of the half.

Cumbria started the second half against the wind, but in positive fashion.

After a succession of scrums Glenn Cheshire, the Kendal prop, went in for a try which Jackson converted to edge them in front for the first time.

Staffordshire responded by bringing on the fresh legs of Dan Smith, James Davies and Brad Eldershaw.

For a spell, they were able to turn the screw and the hard work paid off when Smith sliced through the Cumbrian defence for the line, only to be called back by the referee for an infringement.

Cumbria remained dangerous on the counter attack and a Jackson penalty added to their lead. But the advantage was quickly back to just two points when Maskrey slotted a penalty between the posts.

But Cumbria made sure of finishing the season with a win by scoring two converted tries in the closing stages. Workington flanker Sean Murphy and the lively Jackson both crossed for tries which were converted by Jackson.

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