SOUTHPORT BOW DOWN
Bowden 53 Southport 10 by Mike Smith
Southport RFC visited league leaders Bowden last Saturday and were given a lesson in open running rugby by a team whose performance suggests that last season’s fall from League 1 will be short lived.
Southport looked to offer some challenge to Bowden in the early exchanges, with the ‘Port scrum having the upper hand over a much heavier and more experienced Bowden pack. However, a series of penalties gifted Bowden an easy 3 points in front of the posts, and, while Southport struggled to comprehend the visiting referee’s interpretations of the ruck, Bowden were able to march down the field and again helped themselves to another easy penalty. Southport’s cause was further hampered by another early yellow card, this time for Lang, who was singled out as the result of one infringement too many for the away forwards.
When Southport did have the ball in hand, they posed some threat to Bowden. Strong runs by both Bailey and Cross broke the gain line, and this time it was Bowden’s turn to transgress at the ruck, allowing Banks to pull a penalty back for Southport.
The game continued to be in the balance until shortly before half time, when Bowden chose to kick to the corner from a penalty in the Southport half, and, from the ensuing lineout, put together a series of forwards drives that saw them over for a converted try. Minutes later, from a scrum on half way, the Bowden backs showed their intent in attack, and a flowing move saw the full back join the line to outpace the Southport backs and score a second Bowden try in succession.
Half time: Bowden 20 Southport 3
As the game entered the second half, despite an early Bowden try, and injuries to two key Southport players, the ‘Port team were determined to still show some of the attacking intentions that they have displayed to good effect so far this season. From another penetrating Cross carry, and quick recycling from the Southport forwards, Banks took the opportunity to cross the line himself, and give his team some hope of a comeback.
However, the sign of a good team is how they respond to pressure, and Bowden’s response was to score two quick tries, finished well by their impressive inside centre and a second for the Bowden full back.
Southport continued to toil, and following yet another line break by Cross and good ground gained by Lang, a well executed Banks chip over the rush defence allowed Tees to ground for a second Southport try.
Again Bowden responded, and two late tries, the first involving hands from most of the Bowden team, concluded a comprehensive win for the hosts and food for thought for captain Baumber and his team.
Final Score: Bowden 53 Southport 13