TARLETON first XV were pitted against Hutton RUFC on Saturday – and despite Hutton’s recent results, they knew they were going to be in for a fast-paced and hard-fought game.
Hutton have a big pack and always use it to good effect but Tarleton have been able to deal with this over the last few meetings. They also have attracted a couple more backs and they looked to be a fitter and faster outfit than in the last encounter.
The first 10 minutes of the game followed the usual pattern in this fixture with each side probing for weaknesses and finding none. The defence has been Tarleton’s strength throughout the season and by having this they have been able to build good platforms for some impressive performances.
This now makes it five games in a row where they have taken maximum points and not had a point scored against them.
It was Tarleton who broke the deadlock with forwards winning good ball in their own half and releasing Ben Kelly who broke through the Hutton defence, drew the full back and passed the ball inside to his brother Jack who had an easy run in under the posts.
The pace of the game became even more frantic and some really inventive backs moves by Hutton almost saw them through.
However, he player coming through on the burst on a route that would have seen him clear through on the tryline could not hold onto a sharp pass and Tarleton regained the ball.
The Tarleton forwards didn’t seem fazed by the size of some of the opposition and started to drive them back in the ruck and maul.
Jon Tyrer and Dave Gordon took the ball on with five metre darts and Tarleton edged closer to the Hutton line and a good pick and go by Archie Skofic saw him crash over under the posts for the West Lancashire team’s second try.
Hutton then spent the next 10 minutes camped in Tarleton’s 22 but try as they might they couldn’t find a way through.
Some of the tackles going in where ferocious and Tarleton lost Skofic to injury just before half-time and Rob Bramhall came on as a replacement.
The half-time score was 12-0 and both sides knew they were in a game.
From the re-start, Tarleton made it to the Hutton 22 and were awarded a penalty for handling in the ruck and Ben Kelly slotted the ball over to establish a 15-0 lead.
Again Hutton came back and spent a long period in the Tarleton 22 and from a penalty they went for a scrum 10 metres out.
With quick ball from the number eight channel, they almost made the line but a last ditch tackle by Matt Forrest taking man and ball into touch saved the day.
Their next attempt was also close but good counter-rucking saw the ball passed back to Jon Tyrer who kicked the ball 30 metres upfield into touch to clear the danger.
Tarleton then had a good spell of play which saw Jonathan Mahon break off the back of the ruck and make 20 metres down the line before passing inside to Bramhall who crashed over the line to make the score 20-0.
Hutton then spent even more time in Tarleton’s 22 and yet another try-saving tackle by Forrest saw another good opportunity for Hutton to open their account foiled.
The final try of the day came from a Hutton lineout that went wrong and the loose ball was gathered by Skofic (who had recovered from his injury) and moved wide to Jack Kelly who crossed the line for his second of the day.
Just to make sure that all the Kellys where on the score sheet a very good kick was put over by Max Kelly to make the final score 27-0.
This was not a walkover by any means; Hutton had many chances to get on the scoresheet but the resolute Tarleton defence held firm. Hutton probably had more of the ball during the match but the difference is that when Tarleton got into Hutton’s 22 they obtained points whereas their opponents didn’t.
THE weekend sees the firsts at Garstang with five of the players unavailable as they are on Stag Duty.
The seconds, who had a great win at Fleetwood with only 13 players, are home to BAE Warton and will need all squad players to make themselves available if they are to maintain their winning streak.