Southport fly past Tyldesley
First team flying at 30000 in perfect formation to defeat Tyldesley in a tightly fought match away from home
Tyldsley RFC 8 - Southport RFC 14
Southport RFC fly high over Tyldsley despite some turbulence over 80 minutes !
As the club basked in summer sun and two flights over Waterloo Road from the Red Arrows en route to the Air show...coach Mike Smith sets the scene for the big match .........
Southport 1st team travelled away to Tyldesley last Saturday to test themselves against a side only relegated last season due to a large points deduction. A good home crowd were in attendance at the excellent facilities of St Georges Park to celebrate Vice Presidents Day and add to the occasion. However after a closely fought battle it was Southport who went away with the victor’s spoils.
Southport took the lead early on in the game, when Jake McMullen took advantage of a penalty awarded for an adjudged leading arm from a Tyldesley player to split the uprights from wide out on the left. However a short time later the scores were level, when Southport were penalised inside their own 22 for killing the ball, giving Tyldesley an easy penalty in front of the posts.
In fact both sides were struggling with the referee’s interpretations at the breakdown, and the game became stilted with a series of penalties for either side. One such penalty was awarded to Southport a couple of yards inside their own half, and captain George Baumber handed the ball to McMullen for him to comfortably convert the long range effort and regain the lead. Minutes later and another penalty was awarded to Southport for an infringement at the ruck, and this resulted in a third successful McMullen penalty conversion, this time only from the halfway line!
Chances to cross the whitewash were few and far between for both sides. Tyldesley did break the Southport defensive line on two occasions, however both times managed to spill the ball and let Southport off the hook. Southport’s best chance of the half came from a mazy Dylan Norbury run, stopped a metre short of the try line before the referee again penalised the ball carrying team for an infringement at the ensuing ruck. However, it was Southport who were the happier side as the teams turned around, with the Waterloo Rd side holding a 9-3 lead.
As the game developed in the second half, it was clear that Southport would have the advantage in the set scrums, built on the rock of Tom Smith at tight head. However the solid Tyldesley backs provided a stout defensive line, and it was a brick wall that Southport tried valiantly to penetrate, with powerful runs from Gareth Lang, Josh Critchley and the formidable Sam Cross, who was outstanding around the park. This willingness to take the game to Tyldesley eventually provided the key moment for Southport when from a penalty awarded on the halfway line at a Tyldesley scrum, number 8 Critchley drove at the Tyldesley backs, making good yards and sucking in the defence. This allowed scrum half Dan Whalen to find Danny Banks who with vision saw the gap in the Tyldesley defence and cut a great line through to feed Jamie Bailey on his outside for an unconverted try. Unfortunately for Southport, Banks was injured in the process, and as the team reorganised, Tyldesley took advantage. Southport fumbled the kick off, and from the ensuing lineout, Tyldesley switched play one way and then back the other to provide an unopposed run in for their left winger.
With 20 minutes to go and the game still in the balance, Southport suffered yet another injury, this time to replacement back Adam Atkinson. With full back Tom Peacock also off the field, this meant that Southport had to close out the game with two of their starting back row covering outside centre and wing. However, try as they might, Tyldesley could not break down the spirited Southport defence, epitomised by the relentless tackling of first team debutant Lewis Caldwell, and despite the ferocity of the Tyldesley attack, Southport maintained their composure and discipline throughout. Even with a last minute attacking scrum, the Southport defence held strong, and when Jamie Church turned over Tyldesley ball on his own try line, McMullen was able to clear the lines for an excellent Southport victory. Final score Tyldesley 8 Southport 14.