St Benedicts 20 Wilmslow Wolves 19

WILMSLOW lost for the first time this season on Saturday in a game which had mugging and banana skin written all over it.

After four heavy defeats, the call to arms had gone out in Whitehaven to restore the town’s pride.

With the end of the summer rugby league season in sight, the appeal was answered by five dual-code players, all backs, returning to the rugby union fold and so St Benedicts were a much stronger side than they had been when recently hammered 76-0 at Firwood Waterloo, 41-9 at home by Altrincham Kersal and 64-0 by Carlisle – sides which Wilmslow have already defeated this term.

To add to the Wolves discomfort, though, heavy rain in west Cumbria had left a pitch which was wet and greasy with some standing water.

And Wilmslow were also missing their captain Bob MacCallum, who was still getting treatment for his finger injury the previous week.

That said, Wolves headed up the M6 with the confidence gained from four successive wins and leading the way with Vale of Lune at the top of the table.

They started well enough too, but failed to score in the second half as Saints hit back.

Within 10 minutes of the start, a loose ball was picked up by number eight Alex Taylor and was passed to the backs.

Rick Hughes spotted a gap and ran 40 yards to the try line unopposed, with Conor McMurdock converting.

Ten minutes later, good handling by backs and forwards culminated in a try for McMurdock, which he converted for a 14-0 lead.

But Saints were not about to collapse as they had done in previous weeks and crossed for an interception try via Steve Woods.

Wilmslow restored the 14-point gap though after penalty to the corner brought a lineout from which Taylor touched down.

Wolves were penalised for not releasing the ball in front of their own posts, which enabled Kurt Maudling to land a simple penalty.

It was a different kettle of fish in the second half.

The bigger St Benedicts forwards took charge, particularly in the scrum, and it became harder when second row Tom Bull was yellow carded.

Nevertheless, Wolves went close but were held up driving for the line and then lost the ensuing scrum.

It soon became 19-15 when winger Andrew Middleton crossed for the home side.

For the remainder of the game, Wolves were subject to deep defence in the face of continued pick and drive play.

In the end the pressure told as Kristian Wood went over in the corner for the winning try.

Wilmslow will host fifth-placed Stockport on Saturday.