The Bears travelled to Wigan St Cuthberts with only 13 players available and with the persistent rain showing no signs of easing off they knew it was going to take a big effort from them to take something away from the game today.
Ashton started the brighter of the two teams and a couple of strong carries took them into the Cuthberts’ half. Connor Ashley then made a break down the left hand side and used the support play from Alfie Leah and Kye Van Zelst to sell the retreating defence a brilliant dummy to go himself and score a fantastic solo try which put the Bears 4-0 up almost straight away. The Bears now had their tails up and were looking to make the most of their early momentum. They recovered possession straight from the kick off after Isaac Wheeler forced a knock-on with a big shot on a Cuthberts’ player. George Green then showed his class with ball in hand when he broke down the left edge and played a cut-out pass to Kye Van Zelst who finished superbly in the corner. Ashton continued to have a lot of joy down the left hand side and George Green made another break to go on a 40 metre run before the Cuthberts defence finally caught up with him to stop him just short of the line. The Bears then switched play to the right and Connor Ashley found Matty Ward who ran on the to the ball to go over just to the right of the posts. Broderick converted the try and the Bears were now coasting at 14-0 with only 15 minutes played. Cuthberts restarted by kicking deep into the Ashton half, Danny Hill picked the ball up and turned two defenders inside out to make a break and set the Bears off on another attack. Danny passed inside to the supporting George Green who continued to make more metres down field and put the Bears in a fantastic spot. The Bears then made a couple of drives towards the sticks before Ronny Broderick scored by scooting from dummy half to put the ball down over the line. Ronny converted his own try to give the Bears a 20-0 lead at the 20 minute mark. The remainder of the second half was a much tighter affair. Cuthberts were trying everything they could to work themselves back into the game and had a period of sustained pressure as Ashton began to show some signs of fatigue. Ashton were playing without any subs and the effort that they had put in during their ferocious start was beginning to show. Despite all of this the Ashton Bears stuck together and their effort in defence kept Cuthberts out and the score was 20-0 to Ashton at the break.
During the break, the weather took a turn for the worst and the rain was now coming down heavy. The relentless downpour made for a much scrappier game and both teams came up with a number of unforced errors. If the first half was for the backs then this half was all about the forwards and despite there being no points scored yet, Isaac Mather, Tom Shaw and Jack Blake put in huge efforts in defence and attack to keep the Bears on top. Tom Shaw finally made a breakthrough with a massive drive up the middle to set the Bears up. George Green then dummied left and found Connor Ashley with an inside ball which bamboozled the Cuthberts defence and allowed Conner to score his second of the day right under the sticks. Broderick slotted the extra two points to stretch Ashton‘s lead to 26. Ashton were eager to score again and Ethan Goodban sprinted to chase the kick-off and forced an error from the Cuthberts’ winger who spilled the ball and gave Ashton possession. Ashton were unlucky not to score another when they broke down the right side and Alex Roughsedge, who worked tirelessly all day, just couldn’t bring a slippery ball under control in the wet conditions. Ashton won possesion back quickly after the scrum and Isaac Mather took a big drive towards the sticks which allowed Broderick to scoot from dummy half and score his second try in similar fashion to his first, just to the right of the posts. Cuthberts were much improved in the second half and Ashton were having to dig deep and work much harder to keep them from scoring. With only a few minutes remaining Matty Ward returned a kick with such incredible force that as the Cuthberts defender hit the floor he was probably regretting his decision to attempt the tackle in the first place. With the Cuthberts defence in disarray, Ashton seized the opportunity and George Green danced his way through the retreating defenders to find Daniel Hill who showed unbelievable strength to carry the ball over the line with two defenders hanging off him.
Final Score Wigan St Cuthberts 0-36 Ashton Bears
Man of the Match - George Green