The difficult conditions were always going to limit the ability of either team to play error free rugby and so it proved at Paton Field where Caldy eventually tamed a gritty Sedgley Tigers side. Caldy’s Ben Jones and Sedgley’s Steve Collins swapped early penalties but there was little pattern to the game.
Caldy established several promising attacking positions but poor decision making and execution left them frustrated until mid-way through the half a dynamic forward drive and some exquisite sleight of hand gave winger Ben Jones space. The speedster needed no second invitation and his pace left the defence flat footed as he ran in from the 22-metre line.
With Caldy very dominant in the scrum and a score to the good they were a decent bet to push on but Sedgley had other ideas. A charged down box kick gave them position and winger Jamie Harrison scooted over in the corner. 8-8 at the end of the half.
The visitors had the wind at their backs in the first half, but they had failed to build a lead. That would be significant.
After what Caldy stand off Lewis Barker described as a “half time hair dryer of a talking to” Caldy emerged with better focus and renewed energy. Their forward dominance was everything with tight head prop Derek Salisbury and flanker Adam Aigbokhae prominent.
Two quick tries by Harrison Crowe and JJ Dickinson following punishing drives from the Caldy pack effectively ended the contest, but Caldy was still hunting the bonus point. It came courtesy of a stunning midfield break by winger Mike Cartmill who sliced through the Sedgley defence to score under the posts.
Sedgley pushed hard to get something out of the game but despite Caldy being down to 13 men after losing two players to yellow cards, the game finished in a 32-11 win to the home side.
Injured Sedgley skipper Matt Riley was philosophical in defeat “Caldy were the better side today no question. We didn’t play the conditions as well as they did. Hopefully it will be a different outcome when they come to Park Lane in a fortnight. We need to win next week against the Students and again against Caldy to keep our play off chances alive”
The win maintains Caldy’s 17-point lead over Fylde at the top of National 2 North, but Caldy’s Head Coach Matt Cairns is under no illusions about the strength of the tests still to come. “Next week we have Fylde away and the week after Sedge away. We will need to be a lot better than we were today if we are going to win those crucial games”