JUNIOR COLTS WORTHY CHAMPIONS!
And what a game to look forward to!
Local rivals Waterloo provide the opposition who will be all out to steal the limelight from a team which epitomises everything about a grass roots rugby club which is going from strength to strength.
The road to glory actually began in Blundellsands last September with a similar ring to Englands victory against Scotland last Saturday. A new coaching set up and the coach’s son the kicker seems to be the way forward although Southport got there first! Virgin Colts coach Martin Bailey took over in the summer from the retiring Junior coach Tony Tarbuck, with with son Forest Bailey skippering the team, inspired his new charges to a narrow 12-10 victory away in the bear pit of an ‘auld enemy’.
The next game, at home to Bury, saw the team brought down to earth with a 12-19 defeat, but a head of steam was soon built up with four victories on the bounce against Liverpool Collegiate (a 20-0), Crewe & Nantwich (h 29-12), Marple (h 28-7), Birkenhead Park (a 24-14). This saw the team established as one of the front runners but a reverse to a last minute try away to then league leaders Northwich (20-22) put the brakes on. Again the teams powers of recovery came to the fore with victory away at second placed Vale of Lune 24-15 arguably the result of the season with depleted numbers.
From then on in the league Southport were simply unstoppable. Kendal were beaten 63-5 at Waterloo Road, followed by revenge over Bury (a 53-12), Liverpool Collegiate (h 23-0), Crewe & Nantwich (a 17-12), Marple (h 57-0), and a home walkover against Birkenhead Park. Martin Bailey by now had added the redoubtable Matty Astwood and Jock Martin to his coaching set up which undoubtedly helped harness the lads burgeoning talent.
With the team sitting at the top of the league, with three games remaining the next two home games were crucial against the two teams immediately behind them in what was now a three-way contest. Second placed Northwich were the first to be put to the sword when they were destroyed 50-0 in a stunning performance, then third placed Vale of Lune went the same way 38-0 the week after putting them out of contention in an equally impressive display.
This put Southport in pole position knowing that two victories in the final two games would see them crowned champions. The first was comprehensively achieved 41-0 at Kendal, but there is now no longer a need to rely on the second as Northwich surprisingly fell to a heavy defeat by a similar margin to Sundays opponents Waterloo!
With the lads from Blundellsands also finishing strongly and looking to secure runners-up spot Sunday’s game promises to be very tasty indeed. A large crowd is hoped for to enable the club to bask in the glory of the achievements of its Junior Colts and to cheer the lads to the rafters, whilst there is no small matter of an extremely competitive game to enjoy on the day.
The Junior Colts squad which has excelled this season includes: Daniel Arslanian, Forest Bailey, Ellis Berry, Chris Cope, Ben Cresswell, Dan Cresswell, Zack Critchley, Sam Cross, Josh Gelling, Paul Green, Nick Greenhalgh, Oliver Hilliker, Dan Lloyd, Callum Macneil, Patrick Maguire, Curtis Reantus, Ollie Roberts, James Smallwood, Sam Tarbuck, Connor Unsworth.
As well the immense contribution ‘team’ Bailey , including squad secretary wife and mum Marianne, has put into this triumph it also spans the years for another famous Southport rugby dynasty, the Greenhalgh’s. Nick Greenhalgh is following in the footsteps of his revered Uncles Mark and Ian who were both in the Southport Colts team which was the first ever winners of the Lancashire Colts Cup in 1975.
Mark and Ian were welcome visitors at the club last Saturday, along with other brothers Matthew (Nicks dad) and Simon.
Unfortunately as match sponsors there was no match to sponsor due to the late postponement, but like everyone else they enjoyed the club facilities to the full including watching the England triumph in Edinburgh on the big screen. If Stuart Lancaster and Andy Farrell’s men can replicate Martin Bailey’s modus operandi then the English rose will indeed be blooming this season.