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Lancaster Men’s Rugby League team have secured a cup semi final place with a hard fought 26-12 victory over the University of Hull. An impressive four tries from Richard MacLeod and a try from winger Matthew Buckland sealed victory for the home side.
The game was certainly not short of drama when a crunching tackle by Gareth Houghton in the first minute of the game caused a horrific injury to a Hull player. Play had to be stopped for an entire hour so that the ambulance could arrive and treat the injured player, who was later confirmed to have broken his leg. As a result of the delay, the referee made the decision to play 35 minute halves and decided that the game should be completely restarted.
With an obvious psychological advantage behind them, it did not take long for Lancaster to score. A good off-load from Max Brown kept the ball alive with Rich Macleod touching over in the 5th minute to score Lancaster’s first try of the game. Macleod stepped up to successfully convert his own try. Lancaster were far from dominant however, and some poor defensive work around the scrum allowed the opposing team to score from a huge break by a Hull player who could not be stopped by the Lancaster defence. The Hull kicker was able to bring the score level with his effort.
Another try scoring opportunity for Lancaster came when a break by Patrick Symonds down the left side was gathered and touched down by Max Brown. However, the referee ruled that there had been a knock on and therefore Browns subsequent try did not count.
Lancaster’s next try eventually came in the 24th minute when some strong running and good off-loading down the left side put Macleod in for the second try. Following his injury from the try, replacement kicker Ben Robertshaw was called upon to add the two points in the conversion, which he executed perfectly.
Hull equalised when they earned possession from a knock-on in Lancaster’s own half; the resulting try was converted in the 32nd minute. Half time came to a close with the score level at 12-12.
Lancaster stepped up their game in the second half and were rewarded with another three tries for their effort. The first came when some good link up play between Ben Robertshaw and Nathan O’Connor made some good yards for Lancaster with play to the right wing resulting in a try for winger Matthew Buckland. Macleod converted the try to bring the score to 18-12.
Some fantastic attacking play led to Lancaster’s fourth try when a break by Adam King found the offload to Robert Shaw, who led the attacking charge down the left flank with Macleod crossing the try line for his hat trick. Despite this, he found himself unable to score the conversion. Macleod and Lancaster’s scoring frenzy did not stop there, and a period of pressure by Lancaster led to a penalty when a Hull man was penalised for a high tackle on Vuong Duong. Unsurprisingly, Lancaster used this to maximum advantage and Macleod crossed over in the final minutes of the game to claim victory for the side. The final whistle blew with a 26-12 victory to Lancaster ensuring a semi final tie for the team to relish.
Captain Paul Davies said after the game, “It was a hard fought victory, a solid performance but not a patch on what we can play like. There’s a lot of work to do this week in training. Should we get a home tie in the semis, I want a lot of people there to cheer the lads on next Wednesday.”