PEACOCK STRUTTS HIS STUFF!
Tom Peacock well & truly feathered his nest with a well taken hat trick with great support from Keiran Griffiths as 1s return to winning ways.
Mike Smith reports:
Southport welcomed Oswestry to Waterloo Rd last Saturday, a club also promoted last term, although currently sitting at the foot of the table. However, despite their league position, Southport knew the Shropshire side would present a physical test, having played out a draw in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season.
Southport hit the lead early on. A scrum in the visitor’s 22 gave Southport the opportunity to attack and this they did with Danny Banks drawing the defence before Jack Parker powered through the middle, finding Kristian Griffiths on hand in support to open the scoring. However, Oswestry immediately replied when Southport failed to deal with the restart and an attempted clearance was charged down. As Oswestry attempted to ground the free ball, Southport were guilty of tacking the man without the ball, causing the referee to go under the sticks for a penalty try, levelling the scores. But Southport always looked strong with ball in hand and responded with two tries, both courtesy of Tom Hill counter attacks. The first saw the full back linking well with Tom Peacock and from quick ball, deft hands from second row Sam Cross and prop Jamie Church released Dylan Norbury, and he chipped to the corner before winning the foot race to ground the ball. The second, this time Hill found Banks who cut through the middle, and Southport were then able to spread the ball wide this time for Peacock to score in the opposite corner.
However, just as Southport started to dominate proceedings, Oswestry were let back in after a series of penalties allowed a couple of kicks to goal, the second landed and reducing the gap. But again, Southport rallied and put together several good phases of play, dragging the visitors across the park to defend attacks from Norbury and Peacock on either flank, and could only be stopped by the defensive line straying offside. From the resulting penalty, Southport chose to take the scrum, and clean ball allowed Dan Whalen to ship the ball wide for Peacock to finish in the corner and secure a comfortable lead at the break. Half time: Southport 22 Oswestry 10.
As the teams turned around, it was Oswestry that started stronger, and again several penalties allowed the visitors to set up a good field position, this time kicking to the corner. A catch and drive at the lineout sucked in the Southport defence, and with vision, Oswestry’s flanker went blind off the back of the maul to dive over in the left corner, and put the visitors a score away from levelling the match. But Southport again came back scoring minutes later after a couple of strong runs from the powerful Parker, the second seeing the centre stopped just short. Good recycling allowed Whalen to set his backs free, and simple hands found Peacock out wide to score his hat—trick try, well converted from the touchline by Banks.
With over 30 minutes still left to play, Oswestry might have crumbled. However, to their credit they showed real character and spent most of the remainder of the match in Southport territory. The visitors launched several attacks on the Southport line, knowing that another try might make for a challenging finish for the home side, who were having to rejig their back line several times due to injuries. But Southport’s defence held strong and when they did get into Oswestry’s territory they were clinical. The forwards worked tirelessly, stringing together several phases of play before Cross charged to the line and found Griffiths again in support for the number 8 to bag a brace and close out the match for a bonus point home win. Final score: Southport 36 Oswestry 15.