ORMSKIRK EDGE'LL IT
Southport 7 Ormskirk 19 by Mike Smith
Local rivals Ormskirk were the visitors to Waterloo Rd last Saturday for a close fought match that might have gone either way right up until the final play, not reflected in the 7-19 score line, and saw the visitors extend their unbeaten start to the season.
Southport started much the brighter as both teams struggled to get a grip of the blustery conditions. A solid scrum on the halfway line gave scrum half Joe Mawdsley the perfect platform to find his outside half Danny Banks. Banks fed Ollie Brown in the centre, who drew his man and released Jamie Bailey. A blistering run by Bailey drew the Ormskirk defence across the pitch and allowed him to find Brown back on the inside for a run in to cap a fabulous backs move with a score under the posts.
Southport continued to press throughout the half. Dominating runs from number 8 Matty Astwood and pressure from front row Jamie Church, Liam Webb and Tom Smith at scrum time created real problems for the heavier Ormskirk pack. However, Southport failed to make the most of the difficult windy conditions that favoured them in the first half, kicking the ball dead on too many occasions and allowing the Ormskirk backs to clear their lines.
It was clear from the start of the second half that Ormskirk where themselves intent on making the best of the conditions, and this they did, pinning Southport to their own line. Concerted pressure resulted in a kickable penalty for Ormskirk, which although missed, was accompanied with a yellow card for hooker Webb, and gave Ormskirk the opportunity to press home the advantage of 10 minutes with an extra player. This they did to good effect, with the 7 man Southport scrum now struggling to hold the ‘Kirk pack. Pressure on such a scrum in Southport’s 22 provide an opportunity for Ormskirk to put their outside centre through the gap and race the 10 yards to score a converted try under the sticks, levelling the scores.
Ormskirk continued to camp inside the Southport 22, but the Southport defence was up to the challenge, with tackle after tackle from flanker Danny Booth, who appeared to be everywhere around the field, and mauls driven back by captain George Baumber.
However, with only 8 minutes left, the pressure finally told. Pressure from an Ormskirk scrum allowed Ormskirk to feed their right winger and score in the corner. Unfortunately, the winger’s celebratory antics marred his finish, and would be better suited to the football field rather than a rugby match.
Southport responded well, and immediately took the game back to Ormskirk. With pressure growing on Ormskirk, their aggression in defence spilled over, and this saw ‘Kirk’s scrum half and centre being presented with yellow cards for foul play. ‘Port now had the final 5 minutes of the match with a two man advantage to try and take the spoils. Despite camping in the Ormskirk half, a combination of failing to take overlap opportunities created and some stern defence from the 13 man Ormskirk side frustrated the home side. In desperation to clear their lines, Ormskirk kicked long to try and get out of their half. The kick was fumbled on the Southport line, and this allowed the Ormskirk winger a simple pick up to score the deciding try, followed by another ‘footballer style’ celebration in the faces of the home side, not in keeping with the excellent spirit that the match had been played by the rest of the two teams.
Southport will be disappointed not to have come out as victors, however this was a marked improvement on the previous week’s performance and each player showed real character in their attitude, which they will need to take into next weekends away trip to Orrell.