By Sally Pringle
Lancashire Cup on Remembrance Sunday
Following a switch of venue from waterlogged Tarleton to sunny Waterloo Road, an impeccable observation of 2 minutes silence for Remembrance Sunday and a long wait for an U15 match to finish, this U14 Lancashire Cup game against Tarleton finally kicked off just before 12.30 in bright sunshine and a chilling breeze.
Five phases of Southport possession from the kick off ended in a try by Ollie Roper for the home side after only three minutes close to Southport's right touchline. The wind against us, a tricky conversion kick went wide.
Southport again took possession from Tarleton's restart and play moved to the left side where Southport were awarded a penalty leading to a line out on Tarleton's 22m line. Play moved to Southport's right flank where Tarleton were penalised for offside which lead to a try by Matthew Foster on 10 minutes. Another tricky conversion was missed making the score 10-0.
Despite a scuffed Tarleton restart kick, they made good use of regained possession and scored their first try on 15 minutes which went unconverted.
From Southport's restart, a knock on by the home side lead to a scrum to Tarleton from which they broke away until stopped by a Joe Finnegan tackle. This resulted in a line out to Southport from which the ball was moved wide left out to Matthew Hogan on the wing. Tarleton regained possession and moved play to their left and won a penalty but after some scrappy play from both sides the referee brought play back to halfway for a penalty to Tarleton. This was kicked to Southport's 22m line and from the lineout Southport won the ball back. Possession changed hands several times before a fine run from Matthew Hogan lead to Southport's 3rd try which again went unconverted with the last kick of the half. Half-time score 15-5 to Southport.
Southport started the second half facing bright sunshine. Early possession by Southport was taken forward by Joe Finnegan and Jack Barton to Tarleton's 22m line and a series of determined pick and drives by Southport's pack enabled Keenan Parr to score and this time Joe Finnegan added 2 points with the conversion taking the score to 22-5 to Southport.
Tarleton's kick-off lead to more Southport possession earning the home side a penalty in front of the posts on Tarleton's 22m line. However, despite Joe Finnegan's kick having the distance it went narrowly wide of the right-hand upright. Tarleton's restart went straight to Ollie Roper but ended with a penalty to Tarleton which was sliced out to the left and made little ground. At this point, Southport brought on fresh legs and the next Southport scrum lead to a kick ahead from which the ball found its way to Joe Finnegan who ran through to score on the right hand side and this time Joe added the conversion to take the score to 29-5 to Southport.
Good scrummaging by Southport after Tarleton's restart allowed us to regain possession on our own 10m line from which the ball was fed again to Joe Finnegan who ran from his own half to score under the posts. The run must have taken it out of him as this conversion also went wide right again leaving the score at 34-5 to the home side.
Tarleton's restart was taken by Michael Ascott with a sliding catch as he went to ground on taking the ball but he was penalised by the referee when he got up again with the ball resulting in a penalty to Tarleton. When the referee explained his decision, coach Stu on the line observed that it was a lesson learnt on the rules and "everyday is a school day!" Tarleton's penalty and subsequent line out gave them possession from which they moved the ball to their left flank and went over in the corner for their second try. When the conversion was missed the score remained at 34-10 to Southport.
Conceding this try re-motivated Southport who took possession from Tarleton's restart and then moved forward on the right flank but were forced into touch leading to a Tarleton lineout. A poor throw by Tarleton enabled Matthew Foster to take the ball forward only to be tackled just short of Tarleton's goal line but from the next scrum Matthew was rewarded with a second try.
A final score of 40-10 to Southport, a convincing win against local rivals in a thoroughly entertaining match played in a very good spirit throughout.