The training sessions in the cold and dark pay off as the Under 10s run out winners in Ormskirk.
Something of a record crowd was party to a proverbial Sunday morning festival of rugby on a muddy park over the border in West Lancs. The weather was largely miserable but the welcome was as warm as ever as twenty boys from Southport took on our closest neighbours. Confusion reigned as the boys all called the woman in the middle “sir” out of force of habit. With agreement that “coach” would suffice we rolled up our sleeves and got down to business.
Game 1; Ormskirk 1, Southport 7
A game of power defence for the Southport side that bossed Ormskirk with a strong defensive line. When Ormskirk got the ball, they were pressed hard and ultimately tackled out of the game. When Southport got the ball, they scored. And that was the difference. Charlie Hignett showed good awareness in the middle of the park, setting up eager runners with frightening regularity and even finding time for a sly dart across the line that had a hint of Isaac Luke about it. Sonny Rix was back to his magic best. The Blonde Assassin ran with purpose and gusto for the entirety of the game; a man of the match performance. Lewis Fusco was back to his mazy, downright crazy, running best and he popped up in fine style to get the tins turning over again on the scoreboard. Peter Thompson looked dominant in defence with significant ball wins due to impressive counter rucking skills. Taylor McNulty was also showing great intensity in defence, determined not to let the Ormskirk runners break the line. George Harvey showed excellent hands and feet and a little bit of class at the end as he crossed for a well taken score. Dillon Smith has taken a few learnings from time spent on the side-line helping to take care of the first team; Dillon was revved up and hungry for glory and he rounded off a polished display with a superb score in the corner. Ethan Owen certainly had his wheels on and he demonstrated fast feet to burn in for a well taken try. Ollie Benford ran some lovely lines in the game and his tricky footwork bamboozled the opposition. So much so that he popped over the line not once but twice this morning to keep the season’s tally ticking over. Meantime Lewis Parker terrorised the opposition with trademark tackling, banging in thunderous hits to jar the ball free and underline the Southport dominance defence.
Game 2; Ormskirk 5, Southport 6
After a tough opening game, the boys knew that it was important to maintain momentum in the second salvo. Niall Martindale demonstrated sweet interplay with his team mates in the back division and popped the icing on the dummy half cake with a tasty try; a well-deserved man of the match performance. Mason Plunkett impressed the coaches with his hard hitting and wonderfully worked score. Jack Hendry had a lovely outside break to score down the line with aplomb. There was good solid defensive work from Jack Rogan and Zack Owens who, together, created a platform that that brought a sense of confidence to the rest of the team to ultimately see out the game. Thomas Pilkington relished the physicality, standing up to the opposition in the centres. James Pilkington demonstrated loads of ambition to drive for the line and nail his first try in competitive contact rugby. Angus Gray was a key beneficiary of the fact that the playmaker was finding more time with the ball, dotting over twice for a lovely pair of tries. Charlie Duignan excels in this type of hard game, showing intensity and grit on one wing. Ben Selby can conjure up some stuff and, with cheeky regularity, worked space for himself out wide on the other wing. This was a hard fought game between two strong sides and Southport took pride in a narrow win that could have gone either way.
Sunday was a day to be proud. All of the boys representing both Southport and Ormskirk displayed intensity and sportsmanship on the field to a level that we have not seen as yet this year. Off the field everyone lined up for a minute’s silence that was impeccably observed. There was lovely comradeship as the two teams stood in a line with Southport players interjected amongst the Ormskirk boys. Stood alternate Ormskirk-Southport- Ormskirk-Southport those boys were a true credit to their clubs. We very much look forward to hosting Steve and his gang back at Waterloo Road in April and then again at Sports Tours in May.