South Wales Scorpions will be breathing a sigh of relief tonight after securing a narrow 24-22 win in Cumbria over National Conference Premier side Wath Brow Hornets to secure a place in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup and a potential tie against a Super League club.
It took a try from debutant Greg Callow, a former Celtic Crusaders reserves player who trialled for the Scorpions back in 2010 but wasn’t selected at the time, to be the Welsh match-winner, going over with 13 minutes remaining to secure victory.
Despite arriving in the early hours after a 300 mile plus journey and having to evacuate their hotel after a 7am fire alarm, Scorpions started well and it looked like they would dominate proceedings after a typical David James run down the wing gave them a fourth minute lead.
However the tables were turned from the quarter hour when the hosts hit back, centre Francis King going in for two quick fire tries as the Welsh were napping. Like the Scorpions early score, the kicks were both missed and Wath Brow had a slim 8-4 lead.
Seven minutes later and the Cumbrians were in again thanks to a well worked Richard Huby score with Peter Caddy kicking the first goal of the day.
The pendulum of this exciting cup tie then swung Scorpions’ way. Steve Parry went in for a typical close range try from dummy half and Jamie Rooney converted.
Then from kick-off, Rodney Peake ran in Scorpion’s third with Rooney converting to give the Scorpions the lead for the first time in half an hour.
However they couldn’t hold on until half-time as Scorpions’ age old handling problems continued to haunt them. Following a dropped the ball on the Welsh 20 metre line, Wath Brow punished them from the scrum and Karl Dixon ran the ball home. The conversion was missed and the Conference Premier side went in 18-16 up at half-time.
Scorpions again came out of the traps in the ascendancy and Peake ran in his second try of the game but Wath Brow soon readdressed the balance as King went in for his hat-trick. With both tries being scored near to the corner, neither side could convert their tries and the Hornets still had a two point lead.
The away side could have re-taken the lead on a few occasions but their discipline continued to be poor. But Wath Brow were unable to take advantage of their penalties and Scorpions eventually went over again to regain the lead through Callow. Again Rooney narrowly missed the kick and the score remained at 24-22.
Hornets tried to secure victory as they attacked strongly in the final minute but some good last ditch defending from the Scorpions saw them through.