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Southport 1st XV - Match centre

Sat 7 Mar 15:00 - Northern Division - South Lancs/Cheshire Division Two Full time


The season came unstuck against the side from the Welsh Marches in what can be colloquially described as a "diwrnod gwael yn y swyddfa"*

Mike Smith gives us a painful read.

Southport started brightly in the sunshine but kicked away possession too many times, and from one such kick, Oswestry were quick to charge the kick down before their open side flanker was first to collect the free ball and charge over the line.

However, from the restart Southport immediately gained parity, after a solid tackle from second row James Smallwood stopped the Oswestry forward in his tracks. Pressure at the ruck caused the scrum half to throw a wayward pass, and Southport’s outside half Danny Banks was quick to pounce on the ball and darted through the defence and over the line, converted by Jake McMullen. However, Southport failed to take the game away from the visitors and produced several unforced errors, and with five minute to go to the break, Oswestry took full advantage. From a yet another situation when Southport needlessly kicked away possession when on the offensive the away fullback easily gathered to run the ball back with interest and win a penalty. The scrum half took a quick tap and go and caught the home side napping, crossing the line unchallenged for a 7 – 14 half time lead.

For the first 20 minutes of the second period, neither side managed to get the upper hand, however the power of the burly Oswestry pack eventually told when they drove Southport back at a scrum deep in Southport territory before going blind and scoring in the corner. Southport did have chances when they used possession of the ball, and came close to scoring after a powerful run from replacement Chris Drescher. However with several injuries in the forwards, Southport were forced to pack down with two back rowers in the second row, and it was no surprise when Oswestry drove Southport off their own ball, which allowed their impressive open side to find space and break free of the disorganised defence.

With the game now out of reach, Oswestry continued to add to the home sides woes with a final try inflicting on Southport their heaviest defeat of the season. The Eagles dared and did. Final score: Southport 7 Oswestry 31.

Southport must now regroup and look forward to the next challenge rather than dolefully reflect on this uncharacteristic display. A Lancashire plate semi-final against Trafford MV next Saturday provides the perfect test.

* "Bad day at the office" - the Oswestry lads intimated in the clubhouse that they considered themselves to be from Wales so happy to oblige!


Match report- Saturday 7th March 2015.
Oswestry 1sts 31-7 Southport 1sts.

Eagles Triumph over 3rd Place Southport.
The Eagles took the long journey to Southport, hoping to avenge the defeat at home to the 3rd placed team in the league, knowing this game was going to be difficult..
On a great sunny day and an excellent pitch, with a multitude of Southport supporters egging their team on to beat the side from the south, Southport started with aggression and good play to keep the Eagles within their 22 metres for a good 10 minutes. Mistakes by both teams in the ruck and maul led to at least 12 scrums in that time, but the Eagles held their stout defence and Southport could not get through for that first vital try.
A fantastic kick by Gaz Hughes to clear the Os lines led to centre Jonny Lee picking up the ball and starting a superb run through the Southport defence. He was eventually taken down, but Hamish Fuller gave quick ball to his backs, with, Andy Merrett again pushing hard through the Southport defence gaining a penalty for Os. Hamish Fuller’s quick tap ball confused the defence, he cut in to pass the ball to his number 7 Zak Baldwin who jiggled through the Southport defence to score a great try ......Gaz Hughes converted
BUT ! From the restart a defensive mistake by Os caught them on the hop and Southport scored with a minute of the Os score. It was converted, levelling the score
Then from another great clearance by Luca Owen-Youens, another penalty for Os on the Southport 22 for offside saw Jamie Lucket make an outstanding run helped by his fellow forwards eventually saw the quicksilver Hamish Fuller score another Oswestry try, which was converted by Gaz Hughes
Whew!! Half time game on..
Gaz Barrett and his experienced team gathered together to say keep to the game plan boys ..
Southport again started to push Os back on the defensive and looked like scoring ..but again and again the Eagles defence held strong and slowly started to gain control over the Southport side ...and started to up the game plan and showing excellent handling skills and communication.. Now camped in the Southport 22 the Eagles missed a few chances to score ..with some excellent defence by the home team.
Southport then got a player yellowed carded and Os knew the time was ready to score and so they did with again tremendous speed and agility, with an excellent move beginning from a ruck, the ball moved through the hands of Merret, Lee, Hughes and the nippy winger Nick Clay passing inside to Zac Baldwin to score over the line...not converted.
Now the Eagles machine started to roll over the Southport team with the supporters giving their all for their team. Then with a line out close to the Southport line, Oswestry picked this spot and scored again, with a quick dart to the line by Hamish Fuller....converted by Gaz Hughes.
The last quarter saw the Eagles playing their best rugby this season with the Southport supporters clapping the Eagles on for some excellent play ....disrupting the Southport defences and repelling and defending any attack the home team could muster. Nick Clay in particular, showing superb maturity time and again with some great tackling to boot.

With a few minutes remaining, Luke parks came on for Mike Keaveny the stalwart of the front row with Andy Smith ( Captain) and the ever youthful Chris Hesketh maintaining the power of the pack ...again some excellent handling by the forwards to the backs.. Saw Nick Clay weave his way through the now distraught Southport side to score a superb try.. Not converted
Final score Oswestry 1sts 31-7 Southport 1sts

With a word about the Southport hospitality and supporters they were excellent ..clapping both teams off the pitch in appreciation of some first class rugby.


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Liverpool Collegiate 26 120
2. Tyldesley 26 111
3. Southport 26 96
4. Oswestry 26 88
5. Dukinfield 26 78
6. Orrell 26 76
7. Ormskirk 26 62

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