Dowdales win a classic
Dowdales won a gripping Year 11 National Champion Schools Boys final against Stainburn with a last minute try by Iestyn Humphries.
Played in glorious sunshine on a superb pitch, at First Utility Super League club Castleford Tigers, Dowdales of Barrow beat Stainburn of Workington 22-16, in a match full of excitement.
The match had everything you’d expect of a Cumbrian derby, fast paced, compelling skill and plenty of passion. In front of an excellent and vocal crowd, Dowdales took the early advantage finding a gap on the right wing for Joe Satterthwaite to touch down in only the second minute, Ryan Johnston adding the touch line conversion.
But Stainburn quickly regrouped and following a Dowdales error on the next set, Caine Barnes crossed out wide, the conversion attempt went just wide leaving the early scores at 6-4.
In end to end play with both sets of forwards pushing hard and making plenty of ground, Liam Paisley was next to cross for Dowdales but with the conversion missing followed by a bulldozing run and try from prop Stuart Gallagher and Dom Smallwood adding the extras, Stainburn levelled the game up at 10 apiece.
Half time approached and saw the first real test of female referee Tara Jones skills when an innocuous tackle led to both teams running in and a potential flash point in the game.
Calm under pressure both teams clearly got a strong warning and both teams remained at a full complement of players. Half time the scores were locked at 10 all.
In a repeat of the start of the first half Dowdales struck on the first set in the second, Jacques O’Neill scoring out wide, Ryan Johnston again adding the extras. Stainburn pressed with more success from the forwards seeing prop Jamie Blamire power over. Crucially the conversion was missed.
The scores remained locked at 16-14 for the majority of the half with neither team able to find the gap. Then with only a few of minutes to go, Dowdales were penalised for a ball steal in front of the posts and Dom Smallwood had the simple job of levelling the scores at 16 all.
Then the crucial call in the game, Dowdales take a short kick off, Stainburn knocked on, Dowdales tried to use the free play but a stray pass saw a Stainburn player intercept and break clear. Thinking they’d scored the match winner the crowd was animated only to see ref Tara Jones quite rightly, bringing play back for the first knock on.
Off the scrum, Dowdales attacked from one touch line to the other and the pressure told with Iestyn Humphries crossing to secure the game in the last minute, Ryan Johnston adding the extras.
The final whistle soon followed and Dowdales jubilation was met by Stainburn players laid out on the pitch, both teams having given everything in a compelling match.
Dowdales 11 Ellis Gillam took home the match of the match award for his efforts in the middle of the park and made the long journey home slightly easier for Dowdales.
Tries: Joe Satterthwaite, Liam Paisley, Jacques O’Neill, Iestyn Humphries
Goals: Ryan Johnston (3)
Tries: Caine Barnes, Stuart Gallagher, Jamie Fitzsimmons
Goals: Dom Smallwood (2)
Iestyn Humphries, Patric Cruse, Liam Paisley, Kieran Walker, Tom Askew, Ryan Johnston, Joe Satterthwaite, Ben Atkinson, Jack Gordon, Devon Mulholland, Ellis Gillam, Dylan, Barrow, Jacques O’Neill, Danny Wright, Marcus Hardman, Aiden Wright & Tyler Batty. Bradley Walker & Ioan Hayes missing through injury.
Kieran Mewse, Dan Davies, Jordan O’Leary, Connor McCrickard, Lewis Mason, JC Bryan, Jack Earl, Grant Reid, Dom Smallwood, Stuart Gallagher, Caine Barnes, Jamie Blamire, Conor Fitzsimmons, Kane Bond, Brandon Ray, Jake Hardy, Callum Haille, Liam Tomlinson, Luke Scott & Justin McComb.
Referee Tara Jones, Touch Judges Jamie Barr & Dylan Ward, In Goals Denton Arnold & Tommy Frodsham. Reserve Craig Smith.