PORT PARK THE BUS AND SOME.
The First XV under inspirational skipper Joe Mawdsley put in a mature performance to subdue strong opponents . Mike Smith reports.
Southport travelled to St Helens last Saturday to play their first away match of the year against West Park. The home side were looking to avenge defeat earlier in the season by the visitors, who were themselves looking to build on an excellent win last time out.
It was the visitors who were first to score after clearing their lines from the kick off and setting out their intentions in defence. Leading from the front, captain Joe Mawdsley put in a crunching tackle in midfield, allowing Southport to turn over possession and causing West Park to stray offside in response. From the resulting penalty, despite the swirling wind, Charlie Attis coolly slotted over from 40 yards out. The midfield battle continued to rage, with both packs trying to assert their authority on the other. When Southport did get the ball out to their backs they looked threatening, and a mazy Tom Hill run saw the winger go close.
However, despite having territorial dominance, it took 30 minutes for the visitors to extend their lead. A solid scrum on the West Park 22 allowed Southport’s Tom Peacock to run at the defence, and with quick recycling, Charlie Attis found Tom Hill out wide for the winger to finish well in the corner. Despite the home side being reduced to 14 men after a yellow card for a player diving over the ruck and handling the ball, Southport were unable to add to their tally before the break. Half time: West Park 0 Southport 8.
It was West Park who were first to show in the second period, after too many Southport penalties gifted the home side an easy shot at goal, duly converted. However, the home side’s task was made harder 15 minutes into the half when West Park had a player sent off after throwing a punch, and it didn’t take long for Southport to take advantage. West Park were awarded an attacking scrum, however the formidable front row of Tom Smith, Calum Monaghan and Rob White drove their heavier opposition backwards, allowing Southport to steal possession. The ball was spread wide, and Jake Mann collected before attacking into opposition half. He was supported by Colin Fearns, who then skilfully offloaded out of the back of his hand to a waiting James Tomkinson, and the centre darted in and out, before finishing well in the right corner.
West Park missed an opportunity to reduce the deficit after another kickable penalty was missed, and then the playing numbers were reduced on both sides. Firstly, Southport lost a player to the bin for one offside offence too many; then West Park were again penalised and a player yellow carded. But despite the constant breaks in play preventing flowing rugby, Southport continued to look dangerous in possession, and finally put the game to bed with Tom Peacock starting the move with a run from deep in his own half. Good work from Dan Whalen, who continued to direct his troops all afternoon, again released James Tomkinson, and another fleet-of-foot run took play in to the West Park 22. With the defence scrambling, Southport spread the ball out wide, where Gareth Lang dummied before unselfishly putting in Calum Monaghan for the hooker to finish off a great team try and close out the contest.
So, Southport record their second win of the year, and can now look forward to further opposition from St Helens town next week, with the visit of high flying Liverpool St Helens to Waterloo Rd next Saturday. Final score: West Park 3 Southport 18.