Hawks return to winning ways: report by Warren Atkinson
The Hawks travelled to Paton Field off the back of a disappointing loss the previous weekend in the cup match against a resurgent Sedgley Park side. With head coach, Dan Orwin, on an educational visit to various wine regions in Italy, the squad travelled to an unbeaten Caldy side ably coached by Andrew Soutar. The lads knew they had to put in a much-improved performance if they were to beat Caldy and with a strong wind and diagonal rain Jamie Griffin won the toss and opted to play into the monsoon.
The Hawks started off brightly and Caldy were penalised within the first five minutes. Blake Wilkinson scored to the right of the posts as the beneficiary of some excellent rucks and mauls set up from the penalty. Dave Reed converted and the Hawks were ahead by seven points. Six minutes later Caldy reduced the deficit with a penalty kick awarded for a high tackle.
Caldy looked to be a well drilled team and had a powerful pack. It was even more rewarding to see The Hawks pack gaining the upper hand assisted with the return of Jamie Griffin and Karl Capstick. James Torkington was looking lively breaking from the back of the scrum and Kyle Macauley took pressure off the forwards with some good sniping runs. One such run saw him break through the middle of a ruck and leaving the defence in his wake. He looked a dead cert to score a try but was denied by an excellent last ditch tackle by Caldy which led to The Hawks being penalised for holding on.
Fylde continued to play with ambition running into the wind. Dave Reed began to get the backs running and Brett Whitehead and Ralph Dowds made regular headway with ball in hand. Unfortunately, on the half hour mark, The Hawks knocked on and Caldy were awarded a scrum on the half way line. Fylde managed to get a good shove on but the Caldy number 8 did a great job of retrieving the ball from their retreating scrum and the Caldy backs ran through some ineffective tackling and scored by the right touchline with half an hour played. Ralph Dowds left the field at that stage as he continues his recovery from long term injury. This had an impact on the team as he had been playing well creating problems for Caldy throughout the game. At half time the score remained Caldy 8 Hawks 7.
The Hawks got the second half underway with the wind at their backs and Dave Reed kicked intelligently towards Caldy’s 22 and ensuring they had to keep defenders back. Ten minutes into the second half Luke Clitheroe managed to take the ball from Caldy as they were beginning to gain momentum. Karl Capstick took the ball at pace and outran the Caldy defenders to score an excellent try. The conversion was missed but The Hawks were now 8-12 ahead.
Caldy scored a try of their own through Andy Soutar just ten minutes later. His try was converted and Caldy were now 15-12 ahead. This match was evenly balanced and Fylde were defending with grit and determination despite the loss of Ralph Dowds and Jake Foster (injury). Ryan Evans continues to impress with his defence and the centre positions were covered by James Torkington and Tom Steer between them. The Hawks forwards were doing well in the lineouts and also caused havoc with their driving mauls. The referee eventually showed one of the Caldy players a yellow card for coming in at the side of a maul after awarding four penalties in a row. The Hawks opted for a scrum and again caused problems. With six minutes to go Brett Whitehead broke through the defence before hitting Dan Jones-Dale with a lovely inside pass who scored under the posts. Dave Reed converted this try and Fylde were now leading 15-19.
To Caldy’s credit they refused to give up and ran the ball at The Hawks at every opportunity. The Fylde players refused to be beaten, however, and Kyle Macauley provided a perfect example of the tenacity on display when he managed to hold up a Caldy attacker until support arrived leading to a penalty being awarded to Fylde. They managed the game well during the next few minutes until the final whistle was blown and were well deserved victors.
The Hawks put in a much improved performance and showed great team spirit. Their defence was much more aggressive and organised and this put Caldy under great pressure. This win, against a previously unbeaten side, will give the lads confidence going into their home game next weekend against Chester, who are currently top of the league. It is essential that players make themselves available for training to work on a few aspects of our game.
Our thanks to Laura Jenkinson, who was kept busy throughout the match and particular thanks to family and friends who made the long trek to Caldy and braved the weather to support the team. It really is appreciated. Please come down next Saturday and support the lads at home. It looks to be an excellent contest
Hawks Squad: – 15) Dan Jones-Dale 14) Sam Fisher 13) Ralph Dowds 12) Brett Whitehead 11) Jake Foster 10) Dave Reed 9) Kyle Macauley 1) Jonny Wild 2) Blake Whitehead 3) Matt Ashcroft 4) Karl Capstick 5) Jamie Griffin Capt. 6) Tom Steer 7) Luke Clitheroe 8) James Torkington 16) Craig Whalley- Hunter 17) Tom Fox 18) Will Atkinson 19) Ryan Evans.
Head coach: – Dan Orwin
Manager: – Ian Pearson
Physio: – Laura Jenkinson