Rugby Union: Orrell's friendly victims

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The Independent Online
Orrell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Coventry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

ORRELL are proud of their reputation for being one of the friendliest clubs in the land. Back in 1973, when Coventry were top dogs in England and packed with international players no one knew who Orrell were; much less where it was.

On the way to the first of their two National Knockout Cup triumphs - as it used to be called - Orrell gave Coventry a hard time in a tumultuous quarter-final.

The following season, when Coventry again took the cup, Orrell made the semis, prompting Harlequins to utter their infamous M6 lay-by jibe. Orrell had arrived.

The Lancastrians have been on an upward curve and friends of Coventry ever since. Subsequently, Coventry slipped out of the national limelight but are now are poised to return, where once they dominated.

Top of the Third Division, in which they have won all their away games, Coventry have an impressive pack who would not look out of place in a higher league. They fully extended a near first-choice Orrell eight with a performance brimming with vigour and commitment.

It brought the best from Orrell, who drew heavily on their experience of higher grade football, and capitalised on terrific contributions from Dave Cleary and Neil Ashurst. It helped that Simon Langford, who marshalled Orrell's midfield with calm authority, was in good kicking form, succeeding with all four shots at goal in near-hurricane conditions.

Dave Southern's try came on the stroke of half-time to put Orrell 10-0 ahead. Gary Parker stretched it with the best try of the match to finish off a typical Cleary drive, and Charles Cusani was credited with the third as all Orrell drove over the line.

Marc Thomas's try was rather less than Coventry deserved, but with more displays like this, they will keep making friends.

Orrell: Tries Southern, Parker, Cusani; Conversions Langford 2; Penalties Langford 2.

Coventry: Try Thomas; Conversion Lakey.

Orrell: S Taberner (capt); J Naylor, C Bibby, S Langford, G Parker (M Webb, 52); A Peacock,

D Morris; M Hynes, G French, D Southern,

C Cusani, C Cooper, S Hayter, N Ashurst, D Cleary.

Coventry: M Thomas; B Evans (capt), S Chapman, N Thomson, B Shepherd; M Lakey, S Dowson;

G Tregilgas, G Sharp, W Bulluck, A Gulliver,

R Field, L Crofts, J Horrobin, S Carter.

Referee: R Bullock (Leicester).