FIZZ TO QUENCH LADIES FIRST
Mike Smith reports on an unforgettable afternoon at Waterloo Road as the Firsts put on a performance to top the table and woo the women!
Visitors Wallasey were welcomed to Waterloo Rd last Saturday by Southport’s ladies, resplendent in their finery to celebrate Ladies Day and raise funds for the Roy Castle Foundation cancer charity. However, once the action on the pitch took over, Southport continued where they left off last week against the Medics, building phases of play, and finding the opposition gaping at the back like a medical gown, allowing the home side to climb to the top of the league.
It was a powerhouse start for Southport, after two dominant scrums, and several pick and drives from the forwards set the platform, and when the ball was shipped out, fly half Danny Banks saw the gap and cut through and under the uprights. And Banks was prominent in the next score too, after a well-placed kick into the corner allowed the forwards to pressurise the Wallasey lineout. A well stolen ball gave Dan Whalen the chance to find Gareth Lang on an excellent line for the back rower to crash over. There then followed a period of Wallasey pressure in the Southport 22, however the visitors could not get over the line, and from a 5m defensive scrum Southport were soon on the attack, driving up field, before hooker Liam Webb saw the space and put a box kick into the Wallasey half, inviting Jamie Bailey to collect and outpace the fullback to the try line.
Now it was forwards who were keen to show their skill, with Lang running at the defence and offloading one handed out the back before Josh Critchley saw the defence part and powered through before offloading to Craig Pacey at the line for the prop to crash over. Minutes later and on the back of a solid scrum, Critchley this time held the ball at his feet and waited for the defence to commit before darting down the blind side and this time it was Lang in support, finding Colin Fearns to finish off a cheeky move. One more followed in the half after a penalty close in was tapped and Whalen fed Fears for him to find the try line. Halftime: Southport 34 Wallasey 0.
Southport started in the same rich vein after the break, the forwards dominating up front, led by the unstoppable Sam Cross who terrorised the defence with charge after charge. After several phases the backs were soon attacking with simple hands and Tom Peacock, seeing the defence drift out, cut inside and over the line. The next came from a Wallasey lineout on Southport’s 10m line. Critchley stole the ball in the air and soon Lang was on another charge, with Chris Tees linking up, Jake McMullen adding the yards and Bailey on hand to finish. With Colin Toohey and Jake Mann coming off the bench and into the fray, Southport’s backs and forwards were intermingling and providing some quality rugby. Powerful runs from Sam Cross, Tess and Banks released prop Rob White down the left wing, and when stopped short, it was Cross who was on hand to finish a classy passage of play. Now Southport were attacking from everywhere and when Wallasey tried to clear their lines, Tees countered well and found Fearns on his outside to add the pace and score his hat trick try in the corner. And shortly after, from anther kick, this time full back Tom Hill gathered and gracefully carved up the defence for an excellent solo effort.
With so much pressure on the Wallasey try line, the visitors were forced to transgress several times and the game lost some structure before Banks eventually saw the opportunity to attack and finish from close in. Not letting up, Southport finished with two more tries. The first was out of the top drawer as Southport attacked from their own 22, McMullen changing the direction of attack and Banks hitting the line at pace to get behind the defence, before finding captain Joe Mawdsley in support to cap off the move. And from the restart Southport again recycled well before Banks was on hand to score his third of the day and take Southport to the top of the pile. Final score: Southport 84 Wallasey 0.
PS A massive thank you to all the Wallasey lads who played gamely throughout and entered into the spirit of the occasion and fully played their part in helping the Ladies raise money for the Roy Castle Charity.