By Graham Ellis
The epic encounter against Glossop the previous week took its toll as a virtually scratch First XV travelled to leafy North Cheshire on Saturday.
With thirteen players injured or unavailable from the last game well done to all that came in including four in the pack who qualify for Vets selection as Club Captain Colin Toohey, Director of Rugby Mike Dale and evergreens Gareth Lang and Rei Chambers all dusted off their boots. At the other end of the age scale three Colts James Cook, Sam Lawrenson and Callum Tootle where thrown into the deep end and all acquitted themselves well with Cook marking his debut with some excellent play.
Unfortunately they came across a strong Bowdon outfit with their hackles up to reek revenge as the 32 – 17 defeat a few weeks ago in the reverse fixture was still fresh in the memory. To their credit the lads, including the likes of James Tompkinson and Laurence Abood who hadn’t played for a couple of months or so kept going throughout despite the Canute-like pattern of the play and the mounting score line. A whitewash was avoided but the well worked try scored by Dylan Norbury was scant consolation.
With just two games left both away from home at Anselmians and Widnes respectively the First XV season is all but over save that planning has already started for next with squad numbers in need of strengthening and improvement. However the club is in a good position with a strong core of key player (when fit and available) and a surge of hungry talented Colts coming through.
With the successful introduction of Cook, Lawrenson and Toothill into the Firsts already and the Colts now having finished season the Seconds and Thirds are also being bolstered by the youngsters coming through. This has been especially marked in the Seconds who recorded an extraordinary fourth win on the trot on the road with a 31-27 victory on Saturday at Littleborough 2s, never an easy place to go. a Tries from youngsters Connor Ryland (two), Adam Woods and a first for Lewis Johnson are testimony to this with one for Chris Cunningham for good measure. Mind you the acid test is this Saturday as they are again on the road this time up the M6 to seek to dent league leaders Penrith 2s 100% home record.
The Thirds gave a good account of themselves at Waterloo Road against a strong Hoylake second string leading at half time before going down 10 – 40. But the encouraging thing again is the numbers available to make up a full squad especially in view of the knock on effect of the depleted ranks in the Firsts and the buoyant spirit being engendered. A trip to Wirral 4s on Saturday is in the offing.
A special word too for the U15s who triumphed over local rivals Ormskirk to reach the a Lancashire final to be played in three weeks. Another batch on the production line!