Arnold U'15s progress in Daily Mail Cup ...

The U15s continued their impressive start to the season as they overturned another side who had beat them in the previous season with a victory away at Ripley St Thomas in the U15 Daily Mail Cup.

After some good forward play Alex Vowles-Bradley ran a lovely move in the backs which saw Elliott Fackey make a break for a 7-0 lead. Eight minutes later, some nice hands saw Fackey double his tally as he barged his way through from wide out and it was 12-0 to Arnold. Ripley then enjoyed a good 5 minute spell and their impressive 10 broke through some weak tackling to make it 12-5 at half-time.

Arnold then turned on the style in the second half and some excellent forward charges 4 minutes into the second period resulted in openside flanker, Andrew Perry, finishing off a good forwards try. Perry then added a second minutes later as he evaded 3 tackles after some good inter-play and Arnold were now 24-5 ahead.

The backs now started to display their skills with Vowles-Bradley and Forster drawing their men superbly to create space outside and another overlap was punished and it was Sam Royle who dived into the corner perfectly to finish off a brilliant move. The Arnold boys then saved the best until last as an 80 metre team try concluded the scoring. Whorlton-Jones and Royle started the move deep inside their own half with Royle making a fine break. 6 phases later, and the ball was right on the Ripley line and Vowles-Bradley again unleashed his backs and it was fitting that Fackey was on the end to notch a lovely hat-trick, in what was very much a 15 man team try. Arnold won 36-10 and they now have the tough task of playing Lancaster RGS in the next round.

The 1st and 2nd XVs took on Bolton School on Wednesday. Billed as an early season game to prepare the teams for the tough season ahead, the senior sides from Arnold and Bolton both acquitted themselves well and gained greatly from the exercise, as the game was played in three 20 minute sessions.

Bolton came out of the blocks well in their first outing of the season, and were worthy leaders with an early try as Arnold failed to close down the series of attacks close to the breakdown. There was parity in the set-piece though, as Bolton had the edge in the scrums, and the Arnold pack won good possession from the lineout. Meanwhile, the midfield battle was of contrasting styles; Bolton had the size and weight advantage, as opposed to the more agile and creative Arnold backline. It was however from broken play that Arnold gained the lead; a good attack down the right sucked in the defence and created space as the ball was moved left for new full-back Andrew Walkden to run freely from outside the 22m line for a well-deserved try. Sam Crowther converted to make it 7-5.

Although the Arnold team began to gain more possession, they were unable to maximise their chances as a series of loose passes and poor technique at the contact area prevented the necessary continuity to turn pressure and territory into points. From such an error, the elusive Bolton left wing mazed his way through a poorly organised home defence to score an excellent individual try, and regain the lead 10-7.

However, following a good clearance by Sam Crowther, Jacob Nickson’s hard work at the tackle forced yet another turnover. The possession was well used with neat inter-passing to create enough space for Jacob Reid to finish off wide out, as once again the lead changed hands. At last the Arnold pack began to realise the need to keep things simple, maintain possession and be prepared to go through the phases to develop field position. This was followed by a neat back-row move that enabled Richard Whiteside to dummy his way to the line for another well worked try. A superbly struck conversion by Crowther ensured Arnold’s ascendancy of the game.

The Bolton side continued to press and their efforts were rewarded with a most fortuitous try as a kick that was touched in flight by the Arnold defence, enabled the returning Bolton winger to catch and cross the line unopposed to bring them back into the game. Nonetheless, Arnold stuck to what had worked well in creating control of the contact area and patience in building a series of phases. No 8 James Aired crossed the line for the teams fourth try after a series of rucks and drives had taken the Arnold deep into the Bolton 22m area. Crowther third successful kick concluded the scoring to secure a first win of the season with a 26-15.

Significant progress had been made following Saturday’s defeat, and the progress of a number of new comers to the team was most pleasing.

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