FIRSTS LOSE THEIR MARPLES
Away blues continue by Gareth Lang
Marple 31 Southport 23
Southport ventured to Marple for an away fixture they were easily capable of winning as the side was strong and confidence was high.
As the game kicked off it was clear that the Southport confidence was misplaced and the home side was up for a forwards battle and Southport’s tackling skill had fallen out the car on the M60.
This lead to two tries in quick succession for Marple, one from their centre who was quickest to react to a spilt ball from the ruck and the second when their back-row tapped and went quicker than the Southport defence which was still preparing to reorganise . Sandwiched in-between these Jake McMullen had slotted a penalty after ten minutes but at 14-3 down the travelling red black and amber troops were in need of a good bit of self-motivation.
Inspiration was to come from the Southport backs when Chris Dresher gathered a ball shrugged off a tackler and fed Clarke Walton who drew the defence and put Forest Bailey in for a well worked try. This was a glimpse of the area that the away side should have played the game in as they had joy every time they spread the ball wide.
Next it was McMullens turn to show his skills as he ran the ball and opted to chip over the covering back row who was unable to secure possession allowing Southport to turn the ball over for Walton to go over in the corner.
The second half was a half of rugby that the TV cameras would not have enjoyed. The referee seemingly had left any cards at home and repeated infringements from both sides lead to a scrum or penalty at every ruck. The Marple fly half took hold of the game and kicked the home team into some good field position on many occasions. Southport’s ill-discipline lead to a try but they then fought back bravely and a series of pick and drives lead to Dave Gairn going over from short range. The game was poised by one point and it became a case of next try wins …….. it was apt that it was a 40m kick from the Marple fly half that lead to the home sides try and ultimately decided the game.
In the final analysis Southport really has to learn to travel better than this and to look like a different side away some self-assessment may be needed.