PORT SPOIL SUNLIGHT SOAP
Captain George Baumber reports direct from the front line on Southport shining brightly in a hard fought 17-5 victory against Port Sunlight.
Southport looked to build on two contrasting victories against newly promoted Port Sunlight at Waterloo Road. With the sun shining the lively crowd were looking to see who would make the brighter start and were pleased to see Southport take it to Port Sunlight straight from the kick off. Drive after drive, aggressive rucking and positive rugby mean that Port Sunlight were camped in their 22 for the first few minutes. You would have thought it would be an easy afternoon for Southport but this was definitely not the case. A clearance kick by Sunlight was long and the chase was good creating turnover ball and then Port Sunlight showed their intention for the day with pick and drive time and time again driving them to within a few metres of the try line. Desperate defending and some ill discipline gave them more and more opportunities and after five minutes of pressure Port Sunlight number 8 and captain managed to ground the ball but fortunately the conversion was missed.
How would Southport Respond? Well with great verve and determination as it happens. Hard tackling and pressure by the bash brothers of Booth and Critchley meant every ruck was contested and distrupted the flow of the Port Sunlight play. Southport found themselves back dominating possession and territory. The execution of new moves and set pieces were working well and from one such lineout the ball was given to the re invigorated Lang who threw his now infamous dummy but unfortunately for him he was held up inches short of the line. But good drives from the forwards left the frustrated backs screaming for the ball. The ball was shipped to fly half Danny Banks who had spotted the massive overlap Southport had and released James Bailey who bamboozled the opposition defence by running straight through the middle of the opposition centres and under the posts. Banks converted and Southport had the lead.
The restart was knocked on but Southport regained the ball and continued to pressurise. Another lineout on the Sunlight 22 started the second try which was pleasing to see as they had proved Southports Achilles heal in the second half of last season. The ball was played off the top and the backs were released and showed great composure and skill to release in form winger Chris Drescher who crossed for his fourth try in 2 games. 12 – 5 up at half time and Southport hoped to push on.
You can tell why Sunlight did so well last year as they really stepped up and put the Southport forwards under immense physical pressure in both scrums and rucks but Southport were relentless and ferocious in their defending. Cross, Church, Webb and Pacey did great work especially round the fringes of the rucks manning up and saying we will not be beaten.
As the half progressed the game opened up and both teams took turns in attacking with both full backs joining the line effectively but Tees for Southport was the more influential and one particularly dazzling run threatened to open the opposition defence up but the chance went begging with a pass behind the support player.
Fatigue set in on both sides with a few knock ons preventing fluid play but Southport would not give up and when the fly half for Port Sunlight tried to clear his lines Prop Pacey sprinted to stop the kick the pressure told with a sliced kick out to the Southport left wing. Bailey and Tees were quickest to react, catching the ball, drawing the defenders in and releasing Drescher into the space out wide for his second try. The conversion was missed but at 17-5 from then on the final result was never in doubt.
A great start to the season and very pleasing performance showing all the elements of this Southport team, flair and ability combined with a steal and determination which perhaps you wouldn’t expect from such a young and developing team. Onwards and upwards and across to the Isle of Man next week. Can we make it 3 from 3 in the league? Only time will tell.