SOUTHPORT SURGICALLY DISSECTED!
Manchester Medics 62 Southport 0 by Mike Smith
For the second week in a row, Southport travelled away to a South Manchester side destined for higher pastures, and again suffered a convincing defeat.
Manchester Medics were relocated to the Lancashire and Cheshire leagues last season at their request, to reduce their travel, and were required to start at the bottom of the league system. On the basis of this result and others so far this season and last, Champions of Division 3, it won’t be long before they attain higher league status with teams of a similar standing scattered far and wide which will involve travelling…..
No matter, what isn't without doubt according to match reporter Mike Smith is that a Southport side missing several regulars was outplayed by a younger, fitter side who demonstrated outstanding quality in their ranks, but humility in victory.
For their part, Southport stuck to the task throughout, and despite conceding four early tries in the match, all scored as a result of excellent handling and support running, put together some good passages of play themselves. Powerful runs from Sam Cross and attacking options from Ollie Brown capped a concerted Southport comeback, however never quite enough to get them on the scoreboard. A late Medics try in the first half however finished the game as a competition by half time, and left Southport to regroup and play for pride.
To their credit, Southport continued to show heart throughout the match, and cover tackling from Anderson and determination from second half substitutes Henry Brain, Craig Pacey and Will Scott-Abbott meant Southport refused to give in easily. Medics however had ability throughout their squad and their support in open play provided an offload option at every breakdown, allowing their try scoring to continue.
Southport did have chances themselves; Chris Drescher collected the ball from a perfectly placed Jake McMullen kick off, but was unable to collect his chip through. Gareth Lang in the back row, continued to fight to the end, Dan Whalen mustered the backs at every opportunity and the young Southport front row of Dan Aindow, Calum Monaghan and Tom Smith worked hard at every scrum and will surely gain valuable experience from the encounter.
Whilst of little comfort in defeat, Southport can at least claim a modicum of credit in that Medics star Marcus Clarke is from the town and was once in the Junior set up at Waterloo Road. Unfortunately a serious injury has kept him out of the game for a couple of seasons but he has shown great character to come back to his best as his fellow Sandgrounders found out to their cost.
Southport Chairman Andrew Carney commented that “The Medics were just at another level - they played superb athletic and classy rugby - all credit to them” and in particular congratulated Marcus on his performance. Marcus responded “Cheers Guys, it was a good game today. Hopefully we'll get one over Bowden next week... Our old playing grounds until they had 'no more space' this season!!!”
Southport First XV can speak with some authority on this fixture having also been walloped at Bowdon the week before. Whilst Bowdon v Manchester Medics looks to be an epic encounter worthy of higher league status, Southport captain George Baumber will be spending the week harnessing the good spirit demonstrated by his team in the games against these teams to put this into getting the season back on track with a visit from bottom-of-the-table Wallasey to Waterloo Rd on Saturday (KO 3pm).