Dukinfield 10 Southport 49 by Bill Nichol
You would have been forgiven for thinking the worse when Dukinfield away was announced as the 1st game of the season having not won there for a number of years. However, this is a new era with new ideas a new way of playing and a squad containing many players that have graduated through the youth set-up.
So with new optimism Southport started strongly and were soon camped well into the Dukinfield half and it was club stalwart Gareth Lang who went over for the first of his two tries. This is a squad in development and although maintaining good possession some of the decision making forced a few errors and allowed the home side to take advantage and were soon rewarded with a try in the corner. Southport once again took control of play with some good continuity work and were eventually awarded a penalty duly converted by Joe Mawdsley.
Southport were now finding a rhythm to the game and it was Graham Riley next to score a try following a good passage of play. Good discipline has been a big part of the team’s development and includes not giving away silly penalties, so it was disappointing when the home side scored their second try following a number of needless infringements. Southport was soon back to dominating possession and the centre partnership of Jamie Bailey and Ben Cresswell started to run the show in the backs with the latter showing excellent skill and soft hands to set up a try that was finished off by Chris Drescher.
Half time Dukinfield 10 v Southport 18
In the second half Southport stepped up their game following some stern reminders by the coaching staff to win the contact area and find the balance of play between forwards and backs. Danny Banks was now calling the shots and despite all three replacements on the pitch following injuries the away team built momentum and belief and started to play some attractive rugby. Replacement Craig Pacey powered over for his first try and was converted by Banks. Drescher then scored his second try with a great run down the wing and went over in the corner. The home side was feeling the pace of the game too much to handle and it was soon the turn of full back Tom Peacock to come into the line and score the next try.
To prove the hard work in pre-season was paying off the home side were out on their feet. Southport’s game plan is fitness demanding so it was pleasing to see Lang going over for his second try and turning in a man of the match performance, the try was converted by Banks. Southport had one more try scored by Drescher for his hat-trick scored in the Chris Ashton mould coming off his wing looking for the ball which typified the growing confidence of the team. Banks converted to make the final score 49 - 10 to Southport.