SLAIN MARPLE NO MURDER MYSTERY
Southport 62 Marple 6 by Mike 'Word' Smith
Southport welcomed visitors Marple last Saturday to Waterloo Rd and then promptly produced a comprehensive ten try performance to secure their biggest win of the season.
Marple opened the scoring with an early long range penalty, however Southport were soon on the attack themselves and their first try epitomised the progress this young side has made under the captaincy of the not-so-young George Baumber. A solid lineout inside the Marple half was recycled several times, and this released the Southport backs to attack with some excellent movement, with Dan Whalen on the outside drawing the last man and putting winger Chris Tees in for a well worked try.
Southport’s back row were keen to make their mobility and fitness count and this was illustrated with the team’s second try. Having been awarded a penalty just inside their own half, flanker Danny Booth saw a mismatch in defence and a quick tap and go saw him step the right winger and find Josh Crithley on his inside for the number 8 to race over and score, converted by Jake McMullen.
Another long range Marple penalty from an infringement at the scrum followed, however Southport again responded with a try. Having taken the attack to the half way line, hooker Liam Webb picked up at the back of the ruck, drew two men and then deftly offloaded the ball in contact to an alert Jake Mann, who outpaced the Marple defence to score under the sticks for a 19-6 half time lead.
Webb was involved in the next try, which came just after half time, when he appeared in the midfield and threw an overhead pass which found McMullen charging into the line at pace and in at the corner. From the restart, the impressive Southport forwards promptly marched down the field with a series of driving mauls and powerful runs which could only be stopped by Marple handling in the ruck. Southport kicked for territory, and from the ensuing lineout, a catch and drive saw the Southport pack power over the try line, with Booth coming up with the ball.
Indeed Booth seemed to be everywhere on the pitch and moments later, with Southport again on the attack, he picked a sublime line to take him through the Marple defence. Tackled just short of the line by the Marple full back, Booth offloaded to a supporting Jamie Church and the big forward raced the remaining yard over the line and under the sticks.
Southport were now fully in control, and any attacks Marple did have were met with some excellent defence, with Baumber putting in tackle after tackle on the burly Marple players. But every time Southport had possession, then a try was on the cards, and several more tries followed.
With Marple on the back foot, Whalen kicking through for substitute Chris Dresher to chase. As the ball neared the try line, the bounce outfoxed both Dresher and his opposite number, which allowed Tom Peacock to dive on the ball and become Southport’s seventh try scorer of the day. Dresher had a hand in the next try when another quickly taken penalty by Booth released first Jamie Bailey and then McMullen. He kicked into the corner for Dresher to chase, setting up a Southport drive to the line but held up over it. From the resultant 5m scrum, up stepped number 8 Critchley to crash over. The forwards again combined for the next try, when having turned over ruck ball, Church found Webb in space for a 25m run in and his second try of the day.
Southport were now playing with free spirit and the last try came when Booth, seeing a gap in the defence, placed a cultivated kick to test the Marple full back. Under pressure from the chasing Southport attack, the ball was spilled into the waiting arms of an advancing Mann who gratefully collected the ball and ran in under the posts for Southport’s final try, again converted by McMullen, to seal an excellent all round team effort.