TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE, AND POINTS IN THE BAG TOO!
New Year’s resolutions – don’t you just love them! Not just one match report from the Firsts this week, but two!
CAPTAINS LOG by Gareth Lang
Ramsey made their way to Waterloo Rd with both sides wondering what the second half of the season would have in store for them. The visitors form coming into the match was far better than Southport’s and the game kicked off with no real favourite. The opening exchanges were fast and furious but Southport where getting the better of the forward exchanges. But the ball wasn’t quite sticking and the forward passes and several missed lineout’s showed that you must take advantage of your opportunities in such tight games as this as proved by Ramsey when their first trip into the Southport half saw them kick a penalty to go three points up .
A very simple backs ploy then undid the Southport defence and Ramsey finished the move well to go 8-0 up, the conversion being missed. The home side were left scratching their heads and as you looked around at the players it was clear to see some Christmas pudding bulges that seemed to be sweating pure brandy butter. However, the forwards continued to dominate and it wasn’t long before Captain Gareth Lang crashed over to finish off some fine work by the pack. Jake McMullen having a rare of day with the boot missed the conversion but managed to knock over a penalty a few moments later to level the scores at 8-8 . Soon after the referee blew for half time.
The second half was much brighter as the home team went into the lead for the first time with another well struck penalty from McMullen. This merely served to awaken the the beast in the travelling team as they attacked the Southport line but the home teams defence held stronger than Joe Mawdesleys love of Abba .
Some clever substitutions by Darren Hill and Mike Smith the Southport coaches saw the momentum shift as Southport began to dominate once more. Danny Banks gained territory and Dave Gairns competitiveness at the rucks was proving hard to beat, and George Baumbers constant runs and great lineout work started to shine.
It wasn’t long before a half break from Banks found space for Forest Bailey to finish from short range, McMullen adding the two points. Now the game began to get stretched little with Ramsey attacking from all areas and leading to holes appearing in their defence with the strength of Clark Walton shaking off two defenders to run in from a try from the twenty-two metre line. The conversion was missed but no matter as this would be the last action of the game.
…or if you prefer (slight variance on the pattern of scoring between the two but lets savour the moment!)
Walton Wobbles but he does fall down……….by Rik Potter
A new year generated a new focus for Southport RFC First team at Waterloo Road on Saturday. Captain Gareth Lang emphatically motivating his squad in the pre match team talk and installing the prospect of the first double of the season at home to Isle of Man side Ramsey. Nothing more than the win was acceptable.
A high kick form Scrum Half Danny Banks set the match underway, and Southport appeared to take control. The strength of the pack supported by Jamie Church, Calum Monaghan and Tommy (The Tank) McKevitt drove Ramsey backwards on the muddy pitch, allowing Southport to stamp their control on the game. From that, fast and effective distribution from scrum half Andy Boland and Fly Half Danny Banks allowed Clarke (Weeble) Walton and Forest Bailey to attack the defensive line with a plethora of set pieces and kicks to gain territory.
Southport really struggled to capitalise on this tenacious performance and add points to the score board. Jake McMullen at Full Back unusually failed to take advantage of a few penalty kicks from varying angles and distances in the first half which, allowed Ramsey to take a penalty of their own and the lead.
It was apparent that the Southport momentum was slowing allowing Ramsey to turn a few line outs and run through a number of phases. But Captain Lang led by example, hitting rucks at pace (Legally too) and carrying the ball well allowing a platform for revival. It was Gareth 'Pugsley' Lang that notched up the first try for Southport taking no prisoners on a care free charge through the visiting forwards to retake the lead.
Ramsey did hit back with a try of their own after some scrappy marking and defending in the centres on the half way line allowed the Ramsey inside centre to burst through. He changed his angle to drop the full back and scored with relative ease. This was totally against the run of play and really proved to be the catalyst that lifted the home team.
A rolling maul drove the pack forward from the half way line, changing direction with Jamie Church, Dave Gairns and Joe Mawdsley pushing hard and ripping out any defensive challenges. Andy Boland commanded the release of the ball just past in 22, just off centre. As the forwards had been sucked into defence, a fast ball to Scrum Half Danny Banks allowed the backs to race forward. Forest Bailey took the ball and crashed through his opposite number to further increase the lead. Jake McMullen had no issues knocking over the extras.
McMullen also found his range in the second half with a kick in front of the club house to further increase the lead.
The final try of the game came from Clarke (Weeble) Walton. George Baumber – The clubs Man of the Match, won a line out and presented to the pack who pressed on the try line from their own half. Jordan Caldwell took the lead gaining yardage and the pressurising the opposition into committing to halt the maul. This allowed the backs to regroup, and Clarke (Weeble) Walton to take two, THREE no FOUR tackles ……. Wobbling and Weebling but never falling down to carry over, arm fully extended to end the match.