Wallasey to nil!
Wallasey 1st XV 0 v 27 Southport 1st XV by Mike 'Word' Smith
After two excellent home performances, Southport travelled away last Saturday to basement boys Wallasey as undisputed favourites, looking to put in a dominate display despite the heavy conditions.
Winning the toss, captain George Baumber decided to use the elements to his advantage during the first half, and indeed Southport spent most of the half camped inside Wallasey territory. However too many unforced handling errors prevented Southport capitalising on possession, and despite strong runs from Phil Weston and the evergreen Mike Dale, Southport were limited to a Jake Mann penalty for their efforts. An opening try did eventually come, when a quick tap penalty from Danny Booth set Southport attacking first down the right wing and then, following concerted pressure from the forwards, switching play to the left. Good hands from centres Chris Tees and Forest Bailey found full back Jake McMullen stepping into the line before he fed Adam Atkinson outside and then looped around to take a return pass and score in the corner. However this was to be the only try of the half, and as the teams turned around, and with an ever increasing gale now at the backs of Wallasey, the rugby aficionados on the touchline questioned whether this 8-0 lead would be enough.
Indeed it was Wallasey who started the second half the brighter, and there seemed a real belief that a first win of the season was a strong possibility, as they pinned Southport to their own try line. But Southport’s defence held strong, and two scrums on the ‘Port line stolen against the head by hooker Calum Monaghan relieved the pressure and allowed Southport to run the ball out from defence and take the game back into the Wallasey half. Now it was Wallasey’s turn to clear their lines, which they did with long relieving kicks on the wind. However, one such kick landed into the arms of McMullen, and choosing this time to run the ball back, he set up good ball which found outside half Danny Banks in space. Banks found the gap and sublimely stepped and shimmied through the scattered defence before slipping inside to score under the sticks.
Now Southport started to dominate and despite the conditions played out the game in Wallasey’s half. From a Wallasey scrum the ball was again stolen and Booth broke from the back row to charge at the Wallasey defence allowing substitute scrum half Dan Whalen to spread the ball wide to both sides before Booth chose a perfect line to cross over from close range for a converted try.
The bonus-point fourth try came with seconds left on the clock. A quickly taken tap penalty on the half way line found Josh Critchley on a bursting run into the Wallasey 22 where he found substitute and first team debutant Paul Green in support to crash the ball to within yards of the try line. Quick recycling found Joe Mawdsley to dive over and cap an excellent performance from all three back rowers, a greatly improved second half display and a case of job done, move on!
Proud captain George Baumber commented afterwards "Congratulations to Adam Atkinson for his first start and Paul Green for his first team debut. Great effort by all and the bonus point too. All teams winning only way to stay in the teams is to train!"
Oswestry up next which should be interesting with Southport looking to prove the opposition wrong in their post- match assessment following the game earlier in the season.