Six weeks after their defeat at Upper Eden in a closely contested league fixture Furness found themselves at the same venue once again, this time in the League Cup. The Furness team showed several changes from last week's table topping win at Egremont with an unfamiliar looking bench accommodating 56 year old débutante Don Budgen and perennial crowd pleaser Craig McKinnon.
After a journey up the M6 in driving rain the game kicked off with Furness having the benefit of a strong wind behind them. The first scrum after two minutes saw Furness push Upper Eden off their own put in. The ensuing penalty saw Furness scrum half Sam Dutton slot the ball over from 50 metres. The home team were penalised once more a couple of minutes later this time Furness opting to kick for the corner. With hindsight going for goal might have been a better choice.
As the half progressed Upper Eden started to see a lot more of the ball and whilst their driving mauls from the line out weren't pretty to watch they were very effective. Furness's frustration st not being able to get their hands on the ball resulted in a very heavy penalty count against them. Despite that Upper Eden were kept out and after 30 minutes Furness increased their lead to six when Dutton put over another penalty from 50 metres. Shortly after this the home 15 found himself consigned to the bin after coming in from the side followed a few minutes later by Furness captain Corne Els. Not to be outdone and with his assessor watching from the sidelines the referee completed a hat trick of yellows in record time when Upper Eden's 11 was also consigned to the bin with five minutes of the half still to play. Duttons successful conversion of the ensuing penalty gave Furness a nine point lead with half time approaching. There was still time for the referee to hand out his fourth yellow card of the day, this time to Furness number 8 Will Mallinson seemingly for correctly interpreting what you can do at the lineout.
With the strong wind showing no signs of abating the question was whether nine points would be enough and would Furness rue the penalties they kicked to touch. The opening exchanges were all going Upper Eden's way and it was no surprise when they crossed for a try seven minutes into the half. The successful conversion made it Upper Eden 7 Furness 9. The reminder of the half was dominated by Upper Eden's attack being held at bay by some excellent Furness defensive play and counter attacking let down on more than one occasion by the final pass. The Furness cause wasn't helped however when evergreen prop Paul Dean was allowed a ten minute rest by the referee for what from the sidelines looked like an entirely legitimate tackle. With time running out Furness were still clinging onto their narrow two point lead but under severe pressure not least from the extraordinarily high penalty count against them. It was almost inevitable that Upper Eden would score again and this they did With five minutes left. A missed conversion gave them a one point lead. Unfortunately any glimmer of hope that Furness may have had of overhauling that lead vanished with yet another penalty awarded against them. This time the home stand off made no mistake to make it Upper Eden 13 Furness 9 at the final whistle.
A frustrating day all round for the Furness team and travelling support. Plus points were the efforts of the pack in the scrum and the resolute defending by the entire team. On the down side discipline needs to be improved if the yellow card count is to be reduced. Other than that Furness can look forward with some confidence to next Saturdays home league fixture against Windermere. As for Don Budgen his only venture onto the field of play was with the water and medical kit however he thoroughly enjoyed his time on the sidelines swapping tips on bald spot restoration techniques with fellow bench man McKinnon.