TALE OF THE CENTURY
Southport registered a second home win of the season last Saturday after a comprehensive victory against visitors Newton le Willows.
Mike Smith reports.
It was an excellent start from the off for the home side, who put together a series of phases of play that forced Newton le Willows back and caused them to stray offside in the process. From a quick tap, the ball was fed to Chris Drescher and he opened his and the team’s account. And the pressure continued at a defensive lineout shortly after, restricting the space for the clearance kick of the Newton outside half, allowing Danny Banks to charge down the kick, with Josh Critchley first to react in collecting the ball and crossing the line. Newton le Willows did respond a short time later with a converted penalty after Southport were adjudged to have transgressed at the ruck, however the respite was short lived. After a steal at the lineout from Critchley, Southport’s Jake Mann set his backs going and this released Jake McMullen who set off on a sweeping run in and out of the defence, around the last man and over the line.
A well worked backs move set up the next try after a clean lineout, which resulted in Banks in space and drawing the last man to find Joe Mawdsley in support. The team captain cruised over the try line and grounded the ball successfully. From the restart, it was all backs, with Mann fielding the deep kick and supplying McMullen who put in an inviting chip for Drescher to chase. The winger gathered the ball and shipped it back to McMullen who drew the last man and found his centre compadre Jamie Bailey in support to round off a fabulous try. Again Southport replied from the restart, this time Craig Pacey collecting and finding Gareth Lang in space and through the gap. Mawdsley was yet again in support and he executed the perfect two-on-one allowing Mann an unopposed run in under the uprights. And for the third time, Newton found themselves stood under their own posts after a restart, this time after good play from McMullen provided Bailey with space and he ran in and out of the defence beating every man except the fullback who tackled well. However Tom Peacock was on hand in support and the fullback collected the offload and finished off under the stick. There was however just enough time for the centre to have one more run at the defence and this time Bailey needed no support as he scored his second try of the day before the interval. Half time: Southport 48 Newton le Willows 3.
As the second half started, it was clear that Southport had no intention of letting up, and a good forwards chase at the kick off ensured the ball was recovered, and this allowed Dan Whalen now at scrum half to ship the ball out to Dylan Norbury who accelerated into the corner. And a second try of the half soon followed, this time courtesy of a powerful Critchley run, pulling in the defence and allowing good hands that found Bailey out wide to finish off.
Newton le Willows continued to battle despite the lost cause and this resulted in their best spell of the game which saw Southport penalised several times and lose a man to the ‘bin’. However try as they might, Newton could not cross the whitewash and Southport’s 14 men held out strong. Turning defence into attack, from deep in his own 22, Banks sent out a relieving kick for Norbury to chase, and the right winger did well to recover the ball before quick hand saw the ball supplied to Bailey to score in the opposite corner. And Banks found himself on the scoresheet shortly later after a Southport penalty 10m out was quickly taken allowing the outside half to crash over. Banks was involved in the next try too, when his clearance kick was well gathered by McMullen who then with vision found Bailey for the centre to add to his tally.
The platform of backs play was firmly built on a dominant forward performance at its foundations, and this was typified when Calum Monaghan drove over for the next try, with a little help from his friends. The link between backs and forwards was central to the last two scores. First a solid ruck set Norbury free, for the winger to squeeze between two defenders and get away and under the posts. And then finally from the restart the ever dependable Pacey found Bailey and the centre did the rest. Final score: Southport 104 Newton le Willows 3.
Post Script. Full credit to the Newton lads who joined us in the bar afterwards respendent in club ties and in good humour. They met us on a very good day when we knew we had to pile the points on. We upped our game and not many teams at this level would have lived with us on this form at this level. But Newton battled throughout, never throwing in the towel or resorting to foul play and in defeat were an absolute credit to the game.