Drighlington eased into the second round of the Coral Challenge Cup with a 32-4 win over the All Golds at a cold and windy Battlefields Ground, writes All Golds’ Chris Wilson.
The visitors worked valiantly but in the end their National Conference League opponents had too much experience in how to control a game and were able to shut their opponents down effectively.
While the All Golds made far too many mistakes against a well-disciplined outfit – mistakes that last year they probably would have got away with – they can learn from those and turn them into positives for the Southern Premier League season that kicks off in a couple of months.
Their defensive effort could not be faulted but they simply gave themselves too much work to do. But for that, the score might well have been greater.
It was from the first of those mistakes that Drig opened the scoring after two minutes’ play.
Sam Hodge was bundled into touch after scrambling to field a kick through and Michael Sanderson put Daniel Cahill over in the corner.
Cahill almost scored a second a few minutes later but a desperate tackle forced the ball loose as he was shoved into touch. To the All Golds’ credit, there was no sense that Drig would run away with the game as the visitors defence stood strong.
The sides were going set for set but Drig’s kicking game at the end of theirs was made more effective by defensive uncertainty from the All Golds’ back three.
It wasn’t until 13 minutes from the break that Drig scored again. And again an error from a kick return gave Drig field position. From the scrum, Nathan Lawin skirted round the defence before straightening his run to score. Sanderson added the goal for a 10-0 lead which lasted until the interval.
The home side dominated possession in the early stages of the second half and extended their lead after four minutes when Andrew Brearley ran a good line to slice through the All Golds defence to score.
The All Golds clung on grimly and Drig were still not able to prise open the floodgates. It wasn’t until the 53rd minute that the fourth score arrived. A neatly worked move put Ryan Gobin through a hole to score.
The only joy as far as the scoreboard was concerned for the All Golds came shortly afterwards when a superb short ball sent Mitch Dent charging through. When he was stopped, ten metres from the line, the ball was quickly spun to the wing and Tom Gaffney did well to collect Joe Uren’s pass to score.
Drig crossed twice more before the final whistle, the first a superb team try where the ball travelled sharply down the line for Steve McIntyre to cut inside and finish. Then, with nine minutes remaining, Jake Dearden broke through to race in from forty metres out, Sanderson adding his fourth goal of the day.
The All Golds spent much of the final few minutes camped in the Drig half but could not a get the second score they deserved.
The talk in the post-match huddle was positive following the club’s first competitive defeat. Drig showed the level the side will need to play at this season if they are to continue their run of success and that level is not at all out of reach.
DRIGHLINGTON: Luke Smithson; Daniel Cahill, Jake Dearden, Steven Meldrum, Daniel Sanderson; Nathan Lawin, Michael Sanderson; Andrew Brearley, Ryan Jackson, Peter Everitt; Ryan Burton, Joseph Baines; John Gallagher; INTERCHANGE: Gary Smith; Ryan Gobin, Rhys Micklethwaite, Steven McIntyre.
Tries: Cahill (2), Lawin (27), Brearley (44), Gobin (53), McIntyre (64), Dearden (71)
Goals: M Sanderson 4 from 6
ALL GOLDS: Sam Hodge; Mason Robbins, Luke Kell, Brandon Lamb, Tom Gaffney; Jack Uren, Joe Uren; Mitch Dent, Sean Roberts, Patrick Crummay; Jordan Smith, Ash Lewis (Capt.); Dean Cooper; INTERCHANGE: Mike Addis, Paul Bolger, Hector Silva, Kieran Webb.
Tries: Gaffney (58)
Goals: Hodge 0 from 1
Man of the Match:
Drighlington: Andrew Brearley
All Golds: Mitch Dent
Scoring sequence: 4-0, 10-0, (HT), 16-0, 22-0, 22-4, 26-4, 32-4, (FT)
Penalty Count: 14-7
Referee: Denton Arnold
*Cover photo copyright with Lewis Mitchell Photography*