TIME GENTLEMEN PLEASE!
After last week's excellent home win, Southport took the show on the road to Moore, and after a closely fought contest managed to shine in the sun.
Mike Smith was our man on the touchline....
Southport had the perfect start when, from a Moore clearance, Tom Peacock fielded the ball and set Dylan Norbury free on the right wing to venture deep into Moore territory. Quick recycling allowed Jake McMullen to put the defence under pressure with a pinpoint accurate kick, and good forward power reclaimed possession and drove to the line for Danny Booth to add the finishing touches and cross the line for a great team effort.
Moore immediately reduced the lead with a penalty kick awarded for offside at the ruck, but Southport responded with another team effort, putting together numerous phases of play with penetrating runs from Sam Cross, Josh Critchley and Danny Banks before Southport were themselves awarded a penalty under the posts. With vision, captain Joe Mawdsley saw the opportunity to take a quick tap and fed Liam Webb who crashed over for a try, converted by McMullen.
Southport then immediately switched off and an errant pass gave Moore possession in the opposition’s half. Moore recycled well before their big second row crashed through the middle and offloaded with deft hands for the Moore outside centre to find the space and score. Southport immediately responded, this time with Danny Banks putting in a deep kick for Norbury to chase, and the winger outstripped his opposite number before demonstrating excellent footballing skills to dribble the ball over the try line before grounding well.
But yet again Southport went to sleep from the restart, and another mistake in possession saw Moore’s number 8 pounce on the ball and crash through the Southport defence to bring the home side to within two points. This seemed to give the Gentlemen confidence and shortly before the half time mark they landed a well struck penalty kick and took a half time lead.
Southport started the second half like the first with pressure on the Moore try line. A good break saw Critchley cross the line only to be held up over it, but a powerful scrum freed the number 8 to attack again, and good recycling saw Dan Whalen find Webb. As the ball spilled in contact, it was Tom Smith who was first to react as the powerful prop seized the ball and crossed the line to regain the lead.
But the game continued to see-saw and Southport again pushed the self-destruct button failing to find touch from a penalty clearance and missing several tackles as the Moore left winger ran back at the scrambled defence. Moore worked the ball back and spread it wide, allowing their left winger to take the outside and finish well in the corner, and an excellent conversion saw the home side once again hit the front.
However, with time ticking away, the visitors upped their game and showed sparkle and determination, which proved to be the catalyst for Southport to cross the finish line victoriously. The sparkle came after Moore kicked deep into Southport territory. Norbury fielded well and passed to Jamie Bailey and the centre drew his man and found Chris Drescher on his outside. The winger pinned his ears back and set off on a blistering run before executing a sublime inside pass into the hands of the supporting Jake Mann for the fullback to cross in the corner.
The determination came courtesy of the front row union of Tom Smith, Liam Webb and replacement Ian Smith, who along with Dan Aindow had dominated proceedings all afternoon. A Moore scrum on the halfway line was driven back and from the turnover ball, Critchley picked and found Dresher on his outside. The winger produced a trademark run up to the try line before returning the ball to Critchley who was adjudged to have knocked on in the process of scoring. But from Moore’s put-in at the resulting scrum, the Southport pack again annihilated their opposition, drove the Moore pack back and took possession, and this time Critchley had no problems in picking up, crashing over and grounding the ball.
So Southport recorded another win, however credit should go to both teams for playing open running rugby despite the heavy conditions and putting on a performance for the faithful followers. Final score: Moore 25 Southport 36.