Codfathers denied a place in sevens final

The Codfathers' squad: Jim Fountain, Joe Russell, Josh Wilson, Gordon Bland, Anth Craig (captain), Bruce Reid, Mitch Cannon, Barney Fountain.
The Codfathers' squad: Jim Fountain, Joe Russell, Josh Wilson, Gordon Bland, Anth Craig (captain), Bruce Reid, Mitch Cannon, Barney Fountain.
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The Whitby-based Codfathers rugby sevens team entered the Chester 7s festival and after strong performances in the group stages, were narrowly beaten by The Mad Hens from North Wales in the plate semi-final.

A slightly slow start from the Whitby side afforded the Welsh side two early tries, one of which was converted, giving them a 12-point lead as the game progressed towards half-time.

However, from the second kick-off, Bruce Reid caught the ball cleanly and released centre Joe Russell, who in turn fed fly-half Barney Fountain on the halfway line.

Fountain then side-stepped his way through the opposition defence on his 50m sprint to the line, culminating with a brilliant hand-off on the Hens winger, to score under the posts.

He duly converted to add a further two points as the whistle blew for half-time.

It also sounded the exit of Fountain, who had to leave the pitch for the remainder of the game with a back injury.

However, The Codfathers were able to make a strong substitution, with centre Mitch Cannon coming on and making an immediate impact with his strong, abrasive ball carrying through the Welsh defence.

A rare mistake from the the Whitby side then gave The Hens the opportunity to extend their lead to 17-7 with an unconverted try, with two minutes remaining.

A frenetic passage of play then ensued, with The Codfathers throwing all at their opposition.

Scrum half Gordon Bland made devastating runs through the centre and eventually offloading to prop Anth Craig, who finished a great solo run by running through The Hens’ winger for an unconverted try.

That was the last passage of play and despite a late comeback, left the Whitby side with a 17-12 defeat.

Though disappointed at not progressing further in the competition, captain Anth Craig was delighted with the team’s performance.

“The whole squad really stepped up to the mark today,” he said.

“Winger Josh Wilson’s defence was excellent, Gordon Bland was tremendous throughout all our games, Bruce Reid adapted to rugby sevens admirably and I was particularly impressed with Joe Russell’s vision - realising when our attacking options needed changing and moving the ball accordingly.”