LIKE A CANDLE IN THE WIND
Mike Smith reports on another game blown away....
Southport welcomed visitors Leigh last Saturday in a reversal of venue, after the Hand Lane pitch was declared unplayable. In the wind and the rain it was the home side who were the first to take advantage of the excellent Waterloo Rd playing surface, when a solid scrum on the Leigh 10m line allowed Sam Cross to power forward, before finding Dan Whalen who released Tom Hill. A one-handed take and the full-back was deep into the opposition 22, and after support from Josh Critchley and Cross, it was Tom McGuinness who crashed over to open the home account. However, immediately from the restart, Southport lost possession, and gave Leigh a scrum from which they attacked wide, and then back across the hands for Johnny Drake to finish.
Southport responded, and mid-way through the half, after penetrating runs from Danny Banks, James Tomkinson and Tom Peacock, Jack Boyce powered over the line, only to be held up. From the resulting scrum, an excellent shunt allowed Southport to get the ball wide for Hill to finish in the corner. But Leigh again came back and found space on the outside, before a clever chip was chased with Ollie Shepherd winning the footrace to ground the ball over the line. And before the break, Leigh had another, after too many missed tackles saw Kieran Duffy take the opportunity to dive over. Half time: Southport 10 Leigh 17.
Having had the chance to regroup, Southport immediately replied, when an excellent take at the kick off from Tom Smith saw the prop charging deep into the opposition half. The front row union were in support, with McGuinness again carrying well. And with the defence in array, Charlie Attis chipped over the top for several Southport players to chase over the line, with captain Joe Mawdsley coming up with the ball, allowing Attis to level the scores.
However, yet again, Southport failed to clear their lines from the restart, and Leigh were gifted the opportunity to build pressure in the Southport half, before Phil Summers drove over from the lineout. And Leigh added another shortly later after Elliott Ryan got on the end of a deft grubber kick that beat the defence.
But this time, Southport responded from the restart, building pressure in the Leigh half, and causing the visitors to kick out of trouble, only for the ball to fall into the hands of Peacock, allowing the winger to score in the left corner. With only a five-point deficit, Southport still had the chance to take the spoils, and with Leigh reduced to 14 men, the home side tried to take advantage and set a platform for one final assault on the Leigh try line. However, a mixture of unforced errors and a stout defence enabled Leigh to hold out and saw the home side reflecting on how they had again landed up on the wrong side of a close score line. Final score: Southport 22 Leigh 27.