After two games Aspatria remain pointless in the Regional 2 North league as a 52-7 defeat at Northern demonstrated the quality in this competition.
A trip to Northern, who will surely be challenging for promotion, is always a daunting prospect but the margin of the defeat will be a concern for the Bower Park coaching team.
The pattern of the play did not materially alter throughout the game, even accepting a heavy defeat, Aspatria had their moments but they came up against a side that rarely put a foot wrong or made a poor decision.
All of this meant that for long tracts of time Aspatria were playing defensive rugby at the wrong end of the pitch.
From the kick-off Northern’s fast movement and passing accuracy had Aspatria penned against the try line. The pressure was just too great and after six minutes of resistance the first try was conceded.
A still fresh Aspatria responded positively to the early setback. A silky carry by fullback Joe Beaty earned a decent attacking position around the 22 but resolute defence by Northern prevented any sniff of a score and this was about as close as the visitors came to a fight back.
On 18 minutes Northern struck again and followed this up five minutes later with a third try both resulting from excellent ball retention and pin sharp passing. The home side’s bonus point fourth try followed exactly the same established pattern in so far as the execution of the move simply did not allow Aspatria defenders to get into position. It really was impressive play.
Northern ended the first half 24-0 to the good. From this point it was damage limitation for Aspatria on this day of constant struggle. Those in Black Red shirts did not let their heads drop. Nothing was going right for them but the spirit within the side was obvious and will stand them in good stead for easier battles to come.
On 49 minutes Northern posted a fifth try. Something different this time. A penalty to the corner resulted in an unstoppable catch and drive for 31-0.
The end result had not been in doubt for some time when Aspatria at last got on the score board after 66 minutes. Aspatria took a leaf out of Northern’s playbook, putting together a gloriously efficient sweep down the left flank where back row man Jamie Lightfoot took the ball over. A touchline conversion from Ryan Scott was added.
With 12 or so minutes remaining 31-7 looked a respectable result in all circumstances.
Unfortunately, Northern had other ideas and used the remaining minutes of the game to post three more scores. The first two were near carbon copies of earlier fluent movements that Aspatria could not defend and the last a forwards rumble over the line.