SOUTHPORT THIRDS MATCH REPORT 0 WIDNES 1
In the absence of anything from our side, I've pinched the match report from the Widnes web site which is a cracking read! Cheers Martin, we'll get our irritating scrum half (which one? there's about ten in the club) to pen a reposte.
PS Sorry John R. you're mentioned in dispatches too, and another irritating spekky on the touch line. Any takers...
Anyway enjoy, warts and all.
Wids push Southport all the way.
by Martin Griffiths
Shortened match report this week due to the fact that my son has trodden on the laptop!! (It's all relative - Ed)! (What's a long one like? - Southport Ed)
As we waited in the bar at the Wids, the numbers went from 13 to 16 and ended up with 20!! Winno and Judas had gone to the seconds and several weren’t available.
CJ had gone to the shop to buy some protein shakes and was then going to the gym to try and put some weight on, JP had disappeared and rumours of him grounding a try in California were unfounded, Zak wasn’t available but then was, and Crack’s heel was still cracked - he had to turn to the pharmacist for help.
Danny O’Connor said he wasn’t available and it was discovered that he was going to go to the zoo with his girlfriend. When HE knew that WE knew, he was suddenly available!! Chris Rigby had rung me in advance asking for a spare pair of shorts and I’ve no idea how the Rigby household only had one pair of shorts.
Then “Big” Chris Hopkins walked in the bar and we noticed he had sunglasses on. No-one knew why until we saw his shoes which were the most luminous monstrosity you have ever seen. We ALL needed sunglasses!!! Warren approached me in the bar and said “Neil, do you mind if my brother, Lewis, has a match?” I knew his face from somewhere, but wasn’t that bothered as he was about 6’5”, nearly as wide and played 2nd row for Helsby. I later realised how I knew him!
Breedo was still injured (but continues his winning run of getting mentioned each week).
As we set off for Southport, we pulled in for petrol on the way for Dan Sephton and Rob Council. Amazing how both those two, with their occupations, should have been more prepared and filled their cars up. To be fair, in Dan’s case, his Audi does so few miles to the gallon that it may well have been full when we left Widnes. Rob has no excuse!!
On our arrival at Southport Ainsley announced that he had left his coat in the bar at the Wids. Crack gave him the number for the Wids and told him to use his phone to ring Linda who would look after his coat. Ainsley then disclosed his phone was in his coat!!
All good contenders, but I had already decided that DOD would be given for bloops ON the pitch.
Ben had arrived to play centre and looked smashing in his Warrington Wolves shorts. Crack was injured and couldn’t get involved in the warm up so I stepped in to pass the ball to the backs. Crack noted that I “had potential”.
As the match started, I noticed the ref was the same who had done the reverse fixture at the Wids and had his picture taken with the DOD (Stormesy) for the website. I also saw an unknown woman on the touchline and realised it was Zak’s carer who had come to keep an eye on him.
When the match kicked off, Southport started with a rolling maul up the pitch. The combined age of the Southport forwards in that rolling maul was about 450 years. There were some real “old-heads” but most of them still had their own teeth! The maul ended with a Widnes scrum and Zak had his first opportunity to run at the opposition, forearm first. Everyone (including his carer) closed their eyes as Zak ran forwards.
Unfortunately for Zak it ended up with a Southport penalty about 15M out but they missed it, not surprisingly given the wind.
5 minutes in and the Wids defence was being severely tested by the Southport “Old-Heads”. When they decided to pass it out to their younger backs, they ran in for a try in the far corner, but missed the conversion. 5 – 0.
At the re-start Ben got the ball and made a good run forwards before off-loading to Danny O’Connor on the wing. Southport defence was good and Danny got bundled into touch on the Southport 22M line.
10 minutes in and Zak cast a glance at his carer as if to say “watch this”, and then ran and flattened a poor Southport defender who took his life in his hands and tried to tackle him. Failed and the poor lad went flying. When Zak was eventually hauled down, Southport gave away a penalty with wayward hands and Gaz kicked to the Southport 10M line.
When we got the ball back, Ben had it ripped off him in a tackle and Southport pushed forwards.
At the next scrum the ref made the error of announcing the scrum commands in the wrong order. Wids knew he had got it wrong but it confused the old-heads of Southport.
14 minutes in and Sepho was pinged for holding on after being isolated. Southport kicked for the line but the wind took it too far and it went dead. Wasted.
16 minutes in and Ste Connor ended up seeing stars after getting whacked in contact. The stars weren’t the ones tattooed on his arms but swirling ones around his head. Nothing deliberate and I think Ste hit the floor head first. When he got up, he looked like a character from Avatar with the swelling on his forehead but it seemed he would have fitted in well if he lived in West Bank. Off he came to go over to the Clubhouse and Glynny moved to Scrum Half.
Lewis went on at centre, despite never playing there before. As he went on he said to me “What do I do?” I replied “Just get the ball, and run like Crack, tackle anything that comes past you, and enjoy it”. Off he went onto the pitch.
20 minutes in and Southport earned a penalty for an offence and we got sent back 10M after someone opened their gob. Normally it would have been Stormesy but he wasn’t even there!!
24 minutes and Zak was shamefully offside at the ruck. The whole of the North-West saw him offside but it was over zealousness really. Southport kicked to touch but then knocked on giving us the scrum.
29 minutes and Nathan went on and played on the wing, still wearing 1940s shorts and boots with orange laces. Nigel went on as Zak came off for his medication. A minute later, and probably not related, Southport were pinged for stamping.
Thankfully, that shut up their really irritating spekky on the line who now had no reason to moan and shout at the ref. I’m not sure who was stamping but I suspect it was their (equally irritating) scrum half!!!!
A short while later, while I was doing my best to urge the team on, concentrating on the game and facing the pitch, Warren thought it would be really funny to “kek” me. Down came my pants and how we all laughed !!!!!
As the half approached an end, Nathan made a good drive forwards, looking like a duracell battery as he went into contact head first. A few moments later and he ended up really pi**ing off their scrum half by refusing to give him the ball. The game was getting niggly and tempers were flaring. Fortunately, Zak was off.
Half-time came and went and it was only 5 – 0 to them. Most of the time had been played in our half but we were doing OK.
As the second half started, we held up the Southport maul and ended up with the scrum. Good work by the forwards. The backs were doing OK as well and Warren and Nathan were tackling well and generally getting stuck in.
Zak was back on by now and promptly knocked on when he again decided to run at Southport but carried the ball high and Southport worked that out. From the resulting scrum, Southport did a good move and ran in for a (converted) try. 12 – 0.
We then seemed to get into gear and every single player stepped up their game and switched on. Zak made good runs, Warren legged it down the wing like a stick insect and Lewis was tackling like a man possessed (which he may well be!!)
16 minutes in and Riggers was pulled up by the ref for being naughty. I’m not sure what he did, but he trudged off backwards looking sheepish. Can you get Ginger sheep???
Play continued until Wids kicked the ball forwards and Southport number 13 (who I believe is called John Roberts) made the most basic error in Rugby and took his eye off the ball as it came down from the skies. I think he was checking the side-lines to check everyone was watching him. We were and we all laughed when he dropped it, knocked on and then trudged back wearily towards their line. His reputation was in tatters!!!!
By now we had realised that the Southport scrum half was a right pain in the arse and didn’t shut up all match. Even the Southport players were as hacked off as we all were.
23 minutes and Lewis made a good strong run forwards running directly at the Southport players. Sam was in the middle of everything that was going on and making a nuisance of himself all over the pitch. Warren made a break from one of the rucks and was mightily disappointed to be pulled back by the ref for a knock on. He thought he was in.
29 minutes gone and we were camped on their line right under the posts. As we piled over and hit the floor, with the ball, the ref put his arm up and we all cheered. It was a penalty to Southport for an infringement, and the Southport spekkys all cheered!!!
34 minutes and the legend that is Les Whitfield came on for his return after badly tearing his Achilles earlier in the season. Welcome back Les.
We were still pushing forwards and were piling towards their line when the ref blew up with a shrill blast.
Yellow card (should have been red) for the scrum half (9) for stamping on Wids players. Bad really.
EVERY SINGLE player on the pitch (all 30) applauded the actions of the referee and he marched off, realising he had let his side down. At least we didn’t have to listen to him anymore.
The pressure of the extra man told and Zak piled over for a proper forwards try under the sticks. Converted by Gaz and we had earned it. 12 – 7.
So the match ended and we had come close, put up a decent show but lost.
Sam said to me “We should have won that”. He was right, and had the game gone on another 10 minutes we probably would have done.
Despite the age of our players being about a tenth that of Southport’s, we had put up a decent effort.
Well done to everyone. It’s not all about winning. Many thanks to the referee, who had a decent game and controlled it well. Also thanks to Southport who are a decent set of lads (even counting the scrum half!!!) good luck to them for the remainder of the season and, in particular, against Birchfield next week!!!!
In the bar afterwards, MOM was given jointly to Zak and Lewis.
Zak for two tries and a powerful performance; Lewis for playing out of position, tackling well and really getting stuck in on his first match.
DOD was difficult because nobody had messed up on the pitch.
I gave it to Alex Thomas because he’s a good lad, looked like he needed a pint, is a twin and has never been DOD before. Sounded OK at the time but a bit sh*t now. Hey ho.
Both had the drink off but Zak had gone, returned to Ashworth, in chains, with his carer.
Training Tuesday 7pm Prescot Road and availability to Nige for next week.
West Park away (St. Helens).
P.S. See Southport's website for some excellent match photos.*
*Southport Ed. No mention of our 'extreme' photographer being taken out for being too close to the action. He's been traumatised ever since!