from Pauline Ratcliffe
Egremont Rangers must be learning fast from their encounters with more challenging opposition after promotion to Division 1 of the Conference League. After defeating their formidable local rivals, Wath Brow Hornets, as we reported last month, they shocked the high flying Thatto Heath Crusaders who picked up the Premiership Champions trophy at the end of last season. They came to a rain soaked West Cumbria to pillage and take the spoils of their lower division opponents, but as many crusaders before them who have arrived in these parts were in for a surprise for the home team unceremoniously scalped them and they returned to St Helen’s 28-6 in defeat, no match for the youth, ability, agility and speed of the home team. On a rain soaked pitch loose balls were not uncommon, but it was Egremont who capitalised and turned possession into points. Birthday boy Leon Crellin scored two tries and tackle of the match came from young James ‘Bull’ McDonald whose power and tenacity nearly took the Thatto winger down the main street to the castle for an impromptu visit. Rangers were 28 – 6 to the good at the final whistle.
But our youthful team will learn more from setbacks than from victories. Against Millom the following week their complacency was their downfall. The home team did not seem completely focused and gave away an opportunity to climb further up the Group A table. They were not as dominant as they should have been and after establishing a good lead in the early stages they did not make use of the momentum they should have used to pile on the pressure and points. After establishing a 12 – 4 lead at half time, they failed to match Millom’s fightback in the second half. Despite powerful moves from Paul Corkhill, Peter Bewsher, John Young, John-Paul Brocklebank and Egremont’s Man of the Match, Dan Telford, they were let down by shoddy passing and ill discipline, and failed to match the heavier pack and determination of the visitors who ran out winners 22-12.