Under 20’s Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar)
Following two weeks off following the defeat away at the Salford City Reds, the Under 20’s came back into action as they welcomed South Wales Scorpions to Cougar Park on Family Fun Day.
The talking point in the build up to this match was the long awaited return of reigning player of the year Craig Moss from a shoulder injury sustained in pre-season. The Cougars were ruthless throughout this first half not given the visiting outfit from across the border a sniff of solid possession let alone the try line as they showed there superiority throughout.
The Scorpions looked like a side that didn’t know where from when and some clever play down the wing saw the Cougars get in early as Ethan Hawksworth linked up with Charlie Eccleston to send the loose forward over in the corner with Ben Stead slicing the conversion wide of the posts. The hosts didn’t hold up though and from a repeat set following a penalty, Sean Kelly broke the line to go in unchallenged underneath the posts with Ben Stead putting the extras over with ease. The hooker then fought over from a play the ball to continue the early Cougar dominance.
The men from South Wales were probably wondering what had happened to them when Ben Stead collected an offload from Rob Hawthorne to race over the try line for the first of his four tries in the afternoon before adding the extras once again himself. From the restart the soft defence from the Scorpions saw Danny Lawton, one of seven with first team experience race through for the Cougars fourth try in the opening fifteen minutes. Ben Stead added the extras again.
With the sides awaiting a scrum, Ethan Hawksworth was congratulated on his 21st Birthday which he had tried to keep quiet until his Mum dropped the bomb and he was given a rapturous round of applause by the crowd and the Cougars thought they were in again but Ben Stead’s effort was ruled after he collected a forward pass by Ryan Patchett.
But, this wasn’t a hindrance as another Rob Hawthorne pass sent Ben Stead over the try line with the scrum half converting with ease once again in an occurring theme to this dominant performance. Minutes later though, Ben was at it again as from the play the ball he threw himself over the line to further extend the league. And the theme continued as Tom Courtney saw off two Scorpions defenders with absolute ease to breeze over the try line.
These were the last points of the first half but the Cougars did nearly cross again on two separate occasions in the closing stages of the half. The first came when Josh Lynam broke the Scorpions line but a wild offload to Charlie Eccleston saw the loose forward knock on. Then, the Cougars were through again but Danny Lawton knocked on when it seemed easier to score just a metre out from the line.
The second half started as it meant to go on throughout and Jeremy let out a mighty roar as Jordan Aitchison threw a dummy to create a gap which he took advantage off as he crossed the Scorpions line. Ben Stead then converted with an attempt he could off done with his heel. There was then some confusion when Chris Watson crossed the try line as Rob Hawthorne and Jack Mackenzie exchanged blows in back play but the try was awarded with Ben converting once again.
The second rower was then at it again as he fended off two Welsh defenders to barge over the line with Ben Stead putting a fantastic conversion from the wing in between the sticks but then the Cougars had by the way this game went, a quiet ten minute spell.
The Cougars then pulled some absolutely awesome attacking play as they threw the ball around for fun with Ben Stead and Rob Hawthorne threw some fantastic offloads as Danny Lawton eventually caught the ball and went through the defensive line to cross for the latest of the tries with Ben Stead putting another easy conversion over. Then, the Scorpions defence attempted to drag Charlie Eccleston in touch but dragged him over the try line as he placed the ball down in the corner but Ben Stead put the conversion horribly wide.
Then the last fifteen minutes was an exact replica of the opening fifteen as the Cougars scored tries for fun at a pace the Scorpions were just left behind with. The first saw three South Wales defenders pile onto powerful prop forward Ryan Patchett but Patch stretched out and placed the ball underneath the sticks to present Ben Stead yet another easy conversion.
Ben Stead then broke the Scorpions line and raced unchallenged to cross underneath the sticks for his hat-trick and another conversion bang in front of the posts before Ben was sent racing underneath the sticks yet again as he collected the ball from Chris Watson who raced through the Scorpions line with undoubted ease with Steady converting with ease… Again
The defensive line breaks were nothing short of ridiculous as Danny Lawton became the latest player to do the line break as he offloaded to Jordan Aitchison who raced underneath the posts to present Ben Stead, who must have been getting bored, another easy conversion to add the extra two. Aitch then broke the line himself to race sixty metres to cross with Ben Stead converting to bring the game and this Cougar riot to an end.
Cougars: Moss, Hawksworth, Hawthorne, Lawton, Moorby, Aitchison, Stead, Reed, Kelly, Patchett, Lynam, Watson, Eccleston. Interchanges: Lumb, Akrigg, Courtney, Broadley.
Scorpions: Leyshon, Jones, Wellington, Howells, Mackenzie, Quirke Knowles, Kirk, Connor, Hollyman, Elliot, Collin, Finney, Fitzgerald. Interchanges: Williams, Bowler, Davies, Marshall.