SEFTON OUTGUN SOUTHPORT
Injury hit Firsts threaten fightback after woeful first half but despite Thomkinson heroics the mountain created is too big to climb. Mike Smith reports.
After two home wins, Southport took the show on the road last Saturday, travelling away to Merseyside rivals Sefton for a mid-table clash. However, sadly for the visitors, this was not a star-studded performance, with too many unforced errors seeing Southport leak seven tries.
Southport did start the contest well, and for the first ten minutes camped in the Sefton half. However, they were guilty of not turning territory into points, and Sefton countered from their own 22, only to be stopped by a last gasp Danny Banks tackle on the Southport try line. However, from the resulting scrum, Southport were shunted back, allowing the Sefton back row to combine well and cross the line. And from the restart, Sefton added to Southport’s woes, putting together several phases of play until eventually the gap was breached by Sefton’s impressive outside centre, who cut through to score. A penalty kick was added shortly later, when Southport were penalised for hands in the ruck.
Southport tried to respond, and mounted their own attacks, however they were unable to retain possession, and when the ball was stolen in midfield, Sefton quickly fed their left winger for a run in to the corner. And a fourth try came before the interval, when Sefton’s centre intercepted a loose pass for an easy run in under the sticks. Half time: Sefton 27 Southport 0.
Despite being so far behind, Southport started the second half with some heart, and when they put together phases of play, they caused a threat, so much so that Sefton’s hooker had to resort to collapsing the maul to nullify the attack, gaining ten minutes in the sin bin for his troubles. Southport maintained the pressure, drawing in the defence, allowing Charlie Attis to supply James Tomkinson for the winger to score out wide, well converted by Attis. And from the restart, Southport continued to attack, with Josh Crtichley, making a welcome return from injury, breaking through but just unable to convert the chance, allowing Sefton to clear their lines. However, excellent work from Adam Atkinson on the halfway line set up the next try, as the back-row replacement put in a crunching tackle allowing Southport to turn over ball and ship it wide to Tomkinson who flew down the wing, before finishing off under the sticks.
However, just when Southport though that the comeback was on, Sefton responded, again making the most of loose Southport play, pouncing on the free ball and allowing their captain to charge over in the right corner. And another try duly followed, when Sefton worked the space in their own 22, allowing their outside centre to attack from long range, outstripping any would-be defenders.
Southport did continue to toil, and a great Atkinson break set up good territory with Sefton again penalised in the red zone, this time losing their outside centre to the bin. Southport again made the most of the numerical advantage and simple recycling provided space for Tomkinson to score his hat trick try in the left corner, again well converted by Attis. However, Sefton had the last word, and befitting the match it again came from a Southport error, as the clearance kick was charged down with Sefton’s fly half first to respond and ground the loose ball over the try line. So, Southport were well beaten by a Sefton side that made the most of the visitor’s mistakes and did the simple things well. Final score: Sefton 44 Southport 21.