Cumbria Under-18s 34-10 Northumberland Under-18s

It was an impressive first outing for Cumbria Under-18s with a dominant display against Northumberland at Penrith Rugby Club in front of a good sized crowd.

Tries in the first half from Louie Johnson, Paul Harrison and Max Pearce saw them lead 17-10 at half-time.

Johnson gave the home team a confidence boost as he stepped the rush defence on halfway before angling his run to score a great individual try after five minutes.

A left-side scrum on the 22-metre line gave Grant Seward a chance to run from No.8. 

After drawing the defence, he passed to scrum-half Harrison who went through a gap and finished well under the posts, converted by Fraser Nicholson.

Northumberland had some ball but it was generally untidy with the Cumbria scrum dominant, props Bryn Jeremiah and Nat Mossop to the fore. 

The defence was aggressive with wing Harry Bibby, second-row Luke Broster and back-row Will Addyman leading the way.

A dropped pass gave the visitors a chance to get on the scoreboard, winger Will Robinson hacked ahead and touched down, converted by Charlie Johnson.

Cumbria responded well. 

A multi-phase attack saw Seward pass wide to Pearce. From the breakdown, scrum-half Hugh Burne made a half break and the ball spun loose for Pearce to pick up and finish well in the corner.

A Northumberland penalty by Johnson made the score 17-10 at half-time.

Northumberland upped their effort after the break with the wind advantage but the Cumbrian lads' team spirit shone through with a passionate defensive spell.

From then on, they continued to play well as a team, remarkable considering how little time they have had preparing.

The next try epitomised the team work, gaining a turnover after good counter rucking they went through six phases, Seward and fly-half Billy Thompson going close before Thompson moved the ball wide to Pearce whose quick hands put Nicholson in at the corner.

Try number five came from a scrum with Thompson going blind and giving Joe Connelly a chance. With little space, he powered through two tackles to score.

Connelly finished again minutes later after a backs set-play. Gascoynes long pass put him in space and he again beat two defenders to score.

The defence did not let up with centre Euan Forlow driving his opposite number into touch, a fine break out of defence gave Bibby a chance to show his pace but his kick ahead went into touch to finish the game.

It was a real squad effort with all players featuring for at least half a game.  

The coaching team, led by Nigel Beaty, Matt Shields, Graham Kidd and Matty Kaye, were impressed by the energy and commitment of the players.

It was a great start but there’s lots to work on for the next match at Preston v Durham on Sunday, December 16.