ONES BONDED, VAGABONDED!
It was a great start to the New Year for Southport 2’s, Junior Colts and u14s at the weekend but, like the weather, grim and miserable for the 1s and 3s.
The seconds put on a champagne performance to celebrate the 79th birthday of match sponsor Les Joyce, the highlights being stellar debut performances from joint men of the match scrum-half Jake Mann and winger Connor Wilson. Both youngsters are new to the club and notched up a remarkable five tries between them in putting a savvy Fylde team to the sword 44-5, Jake adding several conversions and a penalty. Other notable performances came from old heads Andy Boland, Danny Booth and the evergreen Gareth Lang.
The Junior Colts emulated this 24 hours later putting together an impressive 35 points and a clean sheet against their counterparts from Rochdale, whilst earlier on the u14s secured an equally laudable 31-29 win at Widnes care of a last minute try.
Otherwise it was a grim start to 2014 for the Firsts who came unstuck 5-45 at Vagabonds on the Isle of Man (see Mike Smiths report below) and the Thirds fell foul of the law 7-29 away against league leaders Merseyside Police.
First team captain George Baumber, however, rallied the troops in his New Year message “The club is progressing at a very pleasing rate both on and off the field. The development of club house and facilities is there for all to see and will be ready for the 2014/2015 season. On the field all three senior men teams are enjoying success winning more games than last year, playing a more expansive style of rugby and continuing to develop and encourage the younger players from the Colts.”
With this in mind Chairman Andrew Carney called a meeting of all senior players before training on Thursday to discuss how this progression can be supported further. It is important as many players as possible attended this meeting.
VAGABONDS 45 SOUTHPORT 5 by Mike 'Word' Smith
With several injuries and unavailabilities, it was a youthful Southport XV that took to the skies to play away to Vagabonds in the Isle of Man last Saturday, and despite suffering a comprehensive defeat, continued to strive to the end of the contest and will surely benefit from the experience.
The home side took the lead within the first two minutes, when they showed their intent to press home the advantage of a heavier and more experienced pack by choosing to kick to the corner from an early penalty at the ruck, and driving over from the ensuing lineout.
Mid-way through the half this lead was increased when with quick recycling, Vagas' impressive open side flanker popped up in the centres to break four tackles and score a converted try. A minute later and following another two missed tackles, this time on the inside centre, good support from the Vagabonds scrum half allowed him to score the third try of the afternoon.
Suddenly Southport started to respond in what was to be their best period of the match. Good turn over ball on the halfway line freed number 8 Josh Critchley and he raced in along the left wing outstripping the Vagabonds defence and scoring a great solo effort in the corner.
However, with minutes to go in the half, great pressure by the Vagabonds tight eight at the scrum saw Southport penalised for a stray hand in the scrum, and with quick vision, a tap and go released the Vagas inside centre to score under the sticks and take the bonus point before half time and a 26 – 5 lead at the break.
With some encouraging words from captain George Baumber at half time, Southport turned around with determination to make a contest of the match, and indeed held Vagabonds back for the first 20 minutes of the half. However Vagabonds continued to press and the next score eventually came from another powerful run from the Vagas inside centre.
With the game slipping away, Southport rang the changes, introducing Dan Aindow and first team debutant Joe Ellis. However Vagabonds were always in control, and a short time later the Vagas open side again ran through a couple of would-be-tackles to score his second of the afternoon. There was just time for Vagabonds to counter attack with one more try that although included a wild forward pass missed by the otherwise impeccable referee, did not alter the course of the match and capped a well deserved victory for the home side.