Windermere certainly didn't look like a team that couldn't raise a side to fulfil the cup match at Furness three weeks ago and with a number of new faces in their line up soon took the game to Furness. With the conditions conducive to running rugby Windermere's outside centre ran through some half hearted Furness defence to put his wingman over in the corner with only five minutes on the clock. Furness 0 Windermere 5. This was just the wake up call that Furness needed and they started to steadily claw their way back into the game. Unfortunately in their enthusiasm the final pass too often went astray and with Windermere posing much more of a threat than Furness had anticipated Furness were finding it difficult to get any points on the board. That all changed however after thirty minutes when a strong break from the back of the scrum by Furness number 8 Joe Mallinson resulted in winger Ryan Cunningham scoring out wide. A missed conversion made it honours even with half time approaching.
The final minutes of the half were notable for the first of a number of unusual decisions by the Canadian referee, one of which resulted in a successful penalty for Windermere and another of which saw Furness flanker Rhys Studt consigned to the bin for ten minutes. Half time arrived with Windermere three points to the good and Furness with a lot to do.
Despite being a man down Furness started the second half strongly and whilst they continued to struggle to fire on all cylinders it came as no surprise to see Cunningham go over under the sticks for his second try of the afternoon. Scrum half Sam Dutton's successful conversion made it Furness 12 Windermere 8. Instead of building on their lead Furness decided to sit back on it, and this, combined with a heavy penalty count against them allowed Windermere back into the game. With Windermere pressing the Furness line Mallinson again made a telling break this time along the clubhouse touchline his inside pass finding stand off Adam Jackson for Furness's third try of the afternoon. Dutton's excellent touchline conversion made it Furness 19 Windermere 8. It had taken some time to get there but Furness were now very much in the driving seat and another Mallinson break, followed by a clever Jackson kick saw winger Cunningham go over for his third and Furness's fourth, and bonus point try of the day. Another Dutton touchline conversion made it Furness 26 Windermere 8 with five minutes left to play, which was more than enough time for Studt to supply the icing on the cake in the shape of a trademark 90 metre run to the Windermere line. Dutton missed with the conversion making the final score Furness 31 Windermere 8. A slightly flattering score for Furness against spirited opposition and they will need to sharpen up considerably if they are to continue their unbeaten run at Cockermouth next Saturday.
A word of thanks to the match day sponsors, Furness Old Farts, a group of former players and friends who turned out in force for yesterday's game, choosing Mallinson as the Furness man of the match.
A word of thanks also to Craig McKinnon for cutting short his Geography field trip to fill in on the Furness bench. Top marks Craig.