Garstang RUFC hang on for Lancashire Bowl success

Garstang RUFC celebrate their Lancashire Bowl victory against Thornton Cleveleys at the weekend
Garstang RUFC celebrate their Lancashire Bowl victory against Thornton Cleveleys at the weekend

Garstang RUFC overcame close rivals Thornton Cleveleys on Sunday to win this season’s Lancashire Bowl.

They won 19-15 in a game that could have gone either way but Garstang’s spirit and desire got them over the line.

The tone for the contest was set from the kick-off as Elliot Davies Taylor put in a huge hit on the ball receiver.

From that moment on, no quarter was asked or given from either side.

Once the initial intensity faded, Thornton started to take a degree of control and they managed to retain an advantage both in terms of territory and possession.

Despite some strong Garstang defence they eventually breached the line with a try in the corner to lead 5-0.

Towards of the end of the half Garstang managed to assert some control of their own, and on the half-hour, they took the lead with Greg Billington’s close-range try and Duncan Lambert’s touchline conversion.

Better was to follow a couple of minutes later as Billington ran a superb line and went half the length of the pitch before being hauled down just short.

The support was good though, and after a couple of clean phases, Joe Corless crashed over with Lambert’s conversion putting Garstang 14-5 ahead at half-time.

They didn’t start the second half well, and within minutes, they had conceded a penalty which Thornton slotted over to reduce the arrears.

Midway through the half, Thornton’s pressure told again as they scored under the posts to lead 15-14.

Garstang player-coach Gavin Barton brought himself on with 15 minutes, and although an injury meant he could barely walk, he still upped the tempo of the game and got them on the front foot.

They laid siege to the Thornton line, and with just four minutes to go, the ball was spun out wide to Ben Keay who went over in the corner to put Garstang four points clear.

The score sparked delirium but there was still a job to finish and Thornton came straight back at Garstang from the kick-off.

The last few minutes were agonising, and when the referee blew for full-time, it couldn’t have been closer as Thornton knocked the ball on with the line at their mercy.

On the same day the Under-13s were looking to make a hat-trick of County Cup wins for the club.

However, they were narrowly beaten by a strong Aldwinians side in the final of the Lancashire Development Cup.