Aspatria 30 Aspull 31

Reeve Steers Aspull to Victory

Aspull travelled to Cumbria to take on Aspatria, after last seasons promotion Aspull were under no illusions this season would be much tougher. With several players unavailable Aspull were forced to reshuffle their pack and play Number 8 Liam West at centre , this would be a test of the Aspull squad and they proved what great strength in depth they have at their disposal. Aspatria have long been a senior Cumbrian club with a great history and winning in Aspatria is a rare occurrence, whilst hospitable in the bar they were in no mood to give Aspull an easy rise in the pitch.
In a game we're the lead changed hands on several occasions it came down to the last kick of the game to confirm Aspull as victors. Aspatria started strongly and only good Aspull defence kept them at bay , the home team did take the lead after 5 mins with a penalty for offside 3-0 , this sparked Aspull into life and Liam Reeve began to control the game , with some excellent positional kicking and ball distribution, Capt Sam Kindred was in excellent form and was constant attacking threat. The Aspull pack drove into the home 22 and from quick ball Reeve slid through a grubber kick into the in-goal area and Liam West won the race to touch down , Reeve converted 3-7 after 8 mins. The lead didn't last long as Aspatria replied almost immediately when the scrum half broke blind to send over the winger for a converted try 10-7 (10 mins).
Reeve levelled the scores with penalty 10-10 after good work by the forwards set up field position. Then an excellent attacking kick by Reeve followed up by Rhodri Carlton-Jones who tackled the full back putting Aspatria under pressure resulting in them conceding a penalty once again Reeve added the points to give Aspull back the lead. Prop Mark Murray was sin binned for a high tackle , but despite being down to 14 men Aspull increased the lead when Reeve spotted the space behind the defence chipped over the top , regathered to send In winger Tom Johnson and give Aspull a well deserved 10-18 half time lead .
Aspatria started the 2nd half on the offensive and were rewarded with a penalty to reduce the arrears 13-18, Aspull's defence was being tested, Pat Wilson and Nathan Bennett working tirelessly to keep out the home side, Bennett was also a threat in attack , a break up the middle found Jonty Wilson in support quick ball caught the home defence offside and Reeves trusty boot increased the lead 13-21.
Reeve continued to control the game with some excellent tactical kicking, Sam Kindred was a constant threat in attack. Aspatria were in no mood to give up the game and came back strong , dominating the next 20 mins they scored 2 tries to take the lead 25-21 and aspull were up against it , good defence by the visitors kept out the onslaught , led by the back row of Nathan Bennett , Tommy Higham and Jake Greenhalgh who finished the game despite breaking his thumb after just 5 mins. Aspatria continued to dominate and from a driving maul scored what they thought would be the match winning try 30-21 with only 7 minutes left. Aspull has other ideas , working up the field they found space out wide for Liam West to score in the corner Reeve concerted from wide out 30-28, with the clock running down and Aspatria on the attack the Aspull defence managed to hold and were awarded a scrum 5m from their own line , the referee called last play , the next 2 mins showed how far aspull have come under the guidance of capt Sam Kindred , with excellent ball control and game management they worked their way up the pitch , working left , then right, through 15 phases causing chaos in the home defence and forcing a penalty Up stepped the ever reliable Liam Reeve to kick the penalty from the touch line and give aspull a victory that 5 mins from time when they were 9 points down seemed unlikely.
30-31 an excellent game of rugby to start the season , Aspull learned that things will not be easy in this league , but also learned they are capable of competing at the higher level.
Liam Reeve was awarded the Man of the Match Award