CALDY’S cup dreams are over for another year – but in a way no-one would have expected following their 15-24 defeat at the hands of Hull Ionians in the EDF Energy National Trophy.
Not only did the Paton Field men have a perfectly good Ben Wylie try disallowed, but they also missed two cast-iron chances when Gavin Roberts had the ball knocked out of his hands over the line and Matt Lamming dropped a pass in a similar position.
As if that was not enough, after a tremendous second half comeback that left them just two points down, Hull’s winning try stood despite a Caldy player being clothes-lined off the ball as he waited to catch a kick and the eventual scorer being clearly offside.
Director of rugby Tony Atherton said: “It was a frustrating day all round really, because we started poorly and then didn’t have any luck with key refereeing decisions.
“That was especially true of the winning try, where nobody at the match could believe what happened.
“But this game is like that sometimes and we now have to pick ourselves up in time for the league match against Kendal next week.”
Caldy were forced to make several changes because of illness and injury and it showed early on as the team struggled to gel.
Hull took full advantage with James Ferguson kicking a penalty, before a second effort hit the post and rebounded into hooker Carl Mortimer’s hands, who scored the try and made the score 10-0.
Things went from bad to worse when a John Broxson long pass was dropped, allowing James Green to pick the ball up and run in for a second try under the posts.
At 17-0 down at half-time, Caldy coach Matt Holt did not pull any punches in his team-talk and his harsh words had an immediate effect.
First Matt Pennington scored in the corner and then Derek Salisbury caught a chip ahead by substitute Sam Cottrell, which Gavin Roberts converted to make it 12-17.
With 10 minutes to go, Roberts kicked another penalty for 15-17 and Caldy looked set to complete the great escape only for the referee to miss the Caldy defender being taken out – a miss that everyone else in the ground saw. Mortimer scored the resulting try.
Caldy now face a crucial National League Three (North) game against Kendal on Saturday, kick-off at 2.15pm.