FIRSTS ON THE THE ROAD TO ORRELL
Southport went to local rivals Orrell last Saturday to face a team in a rich vein of form since the turn of the year and came way empty handed.
Mike Smith reports.
The home side took an early lead when in the first minute they turned over ball at a ruck on the half way line, and their scrum half saw a gap he quickly penetrated to score a converted try. Southport immediately responded with a Jake McMullen penalty for hands in the ruck, and then had a good period of possession which allowed them to take the game into Orrell territory. From an attacking scrum in the Orrell 22, Southport set a good platform for number 8 Gareth Lang to set Dan Whalen loose, and he found Chris Drescher on the blind for the winger to outpace his opposite number and score in the corner, well converted from the touchline by McMullen.
With neither side in the ascendancy, the match then entered into a kicking contest with Orrell’s inside centre landing two and McMullen his second to tie the scores at 13 -13 at half time and all to play for.
However it was Orrell that came out the stronger at the start of the second half as their burly pack started to dominate the set scrums and starve the Southport backs of clean ball. Such was the dominance that having been awarded a penalty deep inside the Southport half, Orrell chose a scrum rather than kick at goal and this provided good possession that pulled the Southport defence wide and created a gap for the inside centre to exploit before converting his own try.
With the game finely balanced, it was ultimately Orrell’s power upfront that decided the match when the Orrell scrum drove back the depleted Southport pack to give Orrell quick ball in the Southport 22. The turnover ball caught the Southport defence deep and allowed the Orrell backs to ship the ball out wide and score in the corner.
Southport never gave up and were given a glimmer of hope after an excellent individual try from Jamie Bailey, when the centre ran from deep in his own half through several would be tacklers to score a superb solo effort. However it was too little too late and Orrell saw out a well deserved win, leaving the young Southport side to regroup, take stock of the progress they have made this season and continue to work to improve and move forward in the future.