The Kestrels kicked off this season’s round of warm up games with the only fixture that will be played at Moorend before the league season starts proper on 7th Sept. The pitch looked in immaculate condition, so hats off to the groundsmen for their hard work over the summer months. The Kestrels put out a 24 man squad to face Old Grovians 1st team, including a smattering of Cleck’s 1st XV who cannot make the warm up game this Saturday away at Rochdale.
The game was played over three quarters of 20 mins each. Richard Noble opened Cleck’s account after Ed Curley brought the ball back inside from the wing and passed to Dale Breakwell, who threw a pass around the corner of the last defender for Noble to dash over for an unconverted try. Grovians hit back, capitalising on some early season tackling, which allowed a man to break through the defensive line and score. At the end of the quarter the scores were 5 apiece.
The Kestrels were first to score again in the second quarter after a good spell of defence. Dale Breakwell put Noble into space in the opposition 22 after good rucking by the forwards and the outside centre drew the fullback and slipped a pass to Cain Crotty who went in under the sticks. The drop-goal style conversion attempt was one to be forgotten and the score remained 10-5. Grovians took the lead when some good footwork by their wing man left Cleck’s defence stranded. The player crossed in the corner but brought the ball round to the side of the sticks before placing it down. The conversion was simple and the score advanced to 12-10 to the visitors.
In the final quarter a break from Tom Austin, who had shown his quality all match, advanced the ball right up the middle of the field before a long pass from Jack Crabtree found Noble on the left wing and he topped off an impressive game with his second try of the evening. Ben Dearing added the extras to give Cleck the lead back at 17-12 but Grovians had the last say with an unconverted try to level the match at the final whistle.
This was a good workout for both sides with an even score reflecting an even game. 2nd team manager Bob Wilson and coach Russ Noble have been working hard over the summer along with the rest of the senior coaching team and the Kestrels’ squad has been putting in the training hours. On the evidence of this match the team can look forward to a successful season ahead.