PORT IN FORWARD GEAR!
Match Report and Weekend Preview. Looking at the league table last Saturday morning the comfortably placed First XV could view the trip to second-to-bottom Wigan RUFC with confidence.
But if there was any misplaced complacency it was soon put to bed.
With the home club bracing itself for a huge bonfire party after the game they lit the touch paper early on with an interception try and conversion to take a seven point lead. From then on it was all Southport as they didn’t panic and without the team being at their best the forwards gradually assumed control to respond with three unconverted tries before half time from Colin Toohey, Tom Smith and Josh Critchley. In response Wigan were limited to a successful long range penalty but it still left the score a nervy 10-15 at half-time despite the away team’s ascendancy.
Into the second half, with the low autumn sunshine continuing to make viewing from the pavilion difficulty, Southport continued in the same vein. A fourth try again from within the pack this time care of hooker Cal Monaghan, yet again unconverted, pulled the away team ten points clear.
The backs finally registered their presence when scrum half Dan Whalen cheekily created his own space and went for it with Charlie Attis adding the conversion, before another trade-mark Critchley try applied the coup-de-gras to secure Southport a well merited 10-32 bonus point victory on their travels.
It was an unusual score in that five of the six tries came from the forwards a tribute to how well the pack dominated, with the backs not quite clicking despite an abundance of possession. On another day the score-line could have been substantially more but equally missed opportunities and conversions might come back to haunt.
Still Southport will take the 5 league points in the bag to cement the team in sixth position in the table with a game in hand. However, next up this weekend at Waterloo Road is the visit of one of the South Lancashire & Cheshire Division One heavyweights Broughton Park FC.
Ten years younger than Southport ‘Park is one of the regions ‘establishment’ clubs including two players, 2nd row Mike Leadbetter and Open side flanker Tony Neary, who were in the North West Counties team which beat the All Blacks 16 points to 14 at Workington in 1972. Four 'Park or ex 'Park players were in the North team which beat the All Blacks 20 points to 9 at Otley in November 1979. Tony Neary openside flanker, Kevin O'Brien full back, Tony Bond centre and Jim Sydall 2nd row
Although these legends of the game are long retired and their reputations will count for nothing on Saturday it will still be another acid-test for the Southport youngsters as they pit their wits against the current crop who vie a return to higher reaches. They seem to be on course lying in second place behind Douglas, but with only 3 points more than Southport. A fiercely contested game is anticipated in front of match sponsors Ludlow & Co and Southport RFC extends a warm welcome to Sid and his guests, as well as to the players, officials and supporters of Broughton Park and hopes that everyone enjoys the afternoon.
Also to Penrith RUFC 2s who take on Southport 3s ‘over the wall’. The Threes will be hoping to put right last week’s 12-24 reverse to Preston Grasshoppers 4s; likewise the Twos who travel to Sedgley Park RUFC 3s after the match last Saturday was cancelled because Wigan 2s couldn’t raise a team. Yet again a sign of the times and a worrying trait the game needs to get to grips with.
A word of welcome, and thanks as always too, to the student physios from Edge Hill University on the touchline throughout the season. Their commitment and support is greatly appreciated and bodes well for their futures.
All games this Saturday kick-off at 2.15pm.
Last Sunday saw three outstanding results: the under 16s avenged last season’s Lancashire Cup final defeat in dramatic fashion by posting over 60 points against in beating Liverpool Collegiate RUFC. The under 17s Colts beat Penrith in the Cup and the Ladies triumphed against Halifax RUFC 82-10 also in their Cup. Unfortunately no further details have been provided to extol the virtues of these performances.
This Sunday the under 17s Colts make a trip to the Cheshire salt-belt to play Sandbach RUFC, the Ladies even further to the Cumbrian Riviera to take on Workington RUFC Ladies, scene of the North West Counties triumph in 1972 as mentioned above. A treat in store at Waterloo Road though as the under 18 girls entertain their counterparts from Ellesmere Port RUFC and Manchester FC at 2.15pm. This is pioneering ground for the club so lets give the girls from all three clubs all the support we can.