Text us your news! Start your message Warrington News and send any photos or videos to 80360
When two worlds collide
2:25pm Monday 18th March 2013 in Sport
TWO codes of rugby collided in a special celebration match on Saturday.
Eagle rugby union veterans clashed with Crosfields rugby league stalwarts in an over 40s masters match to celebrate Eagle’s 50th anniversary year.
For years these two clubs, located less than half a mile from each other, have competed for players rather than on the pitch.
But finally, the challenge of a half league and half union match came about following a successful introduction to masters rugby for Eagle at Crosfields’ summer tournament.
With players spanning three decades – the over sixties wearing gold shorts to ensure they are not hit with full-on tackles - the game was played in a wonderful spirit, reflecting the mutual respect of the two clubs.
In a surprising turn of events, each team performed well at the other’s code with Eagle winning the rugby league half by two tries to one, while Crosfields mastered line-outs and rucking to come out winners with the same scoreline in the union bout.
The scoring was kicked off early on with Eagle’s Jim Brown sprinting down the wing to score in the corner.
Half back Jeff Robinson, returning to Eagle for the first time in years, continued to marshal the team as they quickly learnt the 13-a-side code.
But Crosfields, not to be outdone at their own game, fought back and left winger Cross touched down.
He almost added to his score minutes later with a 40-metre beak down the left wing but cross-code convert and a former Crosfields player Bob Astley made a try-saving tackle after sprinting to cover.
As the half came to its end a move from the scrum resulted in centre Gettins scoring for Eagle.
The switch to union took Crosfields a little while to adapt.
A comment was heard at the first lineout saying: “We should have had a practice, but you told me they just kick all the time.”
But adapt they did.
In the early exchanges Eagle kept possession at those lineouts and the rucks but then led by a great performance at scrum half by Jason Kiernan, Crosfields looked to attack with quick movements to their strong running backs.
The reward was a try for Tretor ,followed by centre Cross soon after.
Eagle were in danger of an embarrassment at their own game but they turned to their forwards to tighten the game up and Leigh crossed the line only to be called back after a tap tackle from one of the masters in gold.
Determined not to be whitewashed, Eagle kept pressing and finally Friery took a pass off the back of a maul to score.
The game was a fitting celebration of two great Warrington teams of old - not only that there is a wealth of experience still able to take to the field and play with great skill, but it shows the respect and friendship between the clubs.