TARLETON welcomed Hawcoat Park RUFC to Carr Lane on Saturday, a team brimming with confidence after notching up four straight maximum points victories leaving them top of the table.
Still with a couple of first choice players unavailable, Tarleton put out their strongest side available and were ready for the challenge. The first 10 minutes of the game was very stop start as the match was disrupted with a number of penalties awarded to both sides. Hawcoat Park were playing a positional game happily booting the ball down field into touch clearing their lines on several occasions.
It was Tarleton who drew first blood though, a clearance kick was gathered by Matt Forrest who charged at the upcoming Hawcoat defensive line as he slipped a good pass to Max Skofic who danced through the Hawcoat defence to score a try and the conversion to give Tarleton a 7-0 advantage.
Hawcoat Park were then put under some severe pressure by Tarleton, but despite being camped on their line for a period of time they could not find the break through.
Hawcoat Park continued to kick for position and almost created a good chance with a deft kick that just ran too far.
From the 22 drop out, Hawcoat knocked on and Tarleton proceeded to lose their own scrum. The Hawcoat number eight capitalized and picked out a good pass for his centre to score under the posts, levelling the scores with 25 minutes gone. Tarleton continued to pressurise forcing a penalty, this was slotted by Elliot Burton and Tarleton led again 10-7.
The next 15 minutes up to half time was all Hawcoat as they attacked the Tarleton defence from all angles. The defence held firm until the last minute of the half when a good tackle put the Hawcoat winger into touch just short of the line and from a bad line out Tarleton gifted the ball and a try to Hawcoat who were more than happy to go in at half time with a 14-10 lead.
This try seemed to affect Tarleton and in the first minutes of the second half Hawcoat took advantage of some sloppy play. Their number 15 collected a kicked through ball and found a gap in the Tarleton line to score a good individual try. At 19-10 down Tarleton stepped up a gear and within five minutes had pulled the score back to 19-17 with a good try in the corner for Max Skofic’s second of the day.
It was Hawcoat Park who finished the stronger however and they ran in two good tries that left Tarleton’s challenge in tatters. This was a good performance against a very well drilled and fit side that possibly could have been closer if Tarleton had managed to turn their possession into points. Next week they travel to Aspatria which will be another hard game against another of the top four in the league.
Meanwhile the second XV had a narrow victory against local rivals Ormskirk which sees them move into second in the table – they face Leigh RUFC next Saturday in a home match with a 3.00pm kick off.