Siddal v Wath Brow Hornets: Hosts lose their way

Rugby League - Siddal v Wath Brow Hornets. Freddy Walker for Siddal.
Rugby League - Siddal v Wath Brow Hornets. Freddy Walker for Siddal.

Siddal were beaten 24-16 by Wath Brow Hornets in their National Conference League opener at CWC Park yesterday.

Playing against the wind in the first half, the home side looked to have established a good platform when they turned around with a 16-14 lead.

The second half performance was flat, however, with too many errors and the Cumbrians took their chances.

The afternoon started badly for Siddal. An injury in the warm-up meant that Lewis Hosty was moved into the starting 13 and Oliver Lewis came into the squad.

Both sides were sharp from the kick off. Siddal forced the visitors to drop out from under the posts after six minutes and two minutes later full back Freddy Walker slid over the line but couldn’t ground the ball as he was smothered by three tacklers.

Wath Brow had their own period of pressure. They also forced a drop out and with a repeat set they camped on the Siddal line, but couldn’t breach the defence.

After 17 minutes the deadlock was broken by Ben West when the centre showed determination to touch down, despite the attentions of several visiting players. Chris Brooke was successful with the conversion.

Brow made it 6-6 after 22 minutes. A 40 yard break by hooker Ellison Holgate was halted by a desperate tackle, which was penalised. From the next play, second rower Nathan Lucock touched down and Cole Walker-Taylor converted.

Brow scored again after 33 minutes from a pass which looked forward. Jamie Devine didn’t wait for the referee’s whistle and found a gap to touch down. Walker-Taylor put the visitors 12-6 ahead with another successful kick.

Gareth English was introduced and his presence seemed to lift the team as Siddal scored two tries in the five minutes leading up until half time.

Christian Ackroyd bagged the first as his tremendous jinking run from 30 yards sliced through the visiting defence.

Hosty scored the second in the corner after Siddal had focused on attacking the Brow right wing. Their persistence paid off with a try by the corner flag.

Brooke converted the Ackroyd try and Siddal led by four points but right on the stroke of half time Walker-Taylor kicked a penalty.

Siddal couldn’t find any form in the second half. Their cause wasn’t helped when skipper Byron Smith was withdrawn with a suspected fractured hand after 45 minutes.

Brow’s defensive line held firm throughout the half and they scored two tries, from Curtis Teare and Dean Rooney.

Walker-Taylor converted Rooney’s try after 72 minutes to put the visitors eight points clear and the game petered out for the home side, who must re-gather ahead of next weekend’s Challenge Cup trip to Workington.