Southport U14s Perform Well Against a Powerful Preston Squad
By Stephen Hart
Southport U14s visited Preston Grasshoppers for the second time in a month and show an improved performance against quality opposition.
A Southport U14 squad of 19 players travelled to Preston looking to improve upon their performance in the same fixture in October, whilst nine players stayed at home to train. Preston have numbers to operate two teams at this age group and the intention was to take on a different side to last time although, in the event, the whole Preston squad was available due to a late cancellation by their intended opposition.
Preston were able to score in the right hand corner within a couple of minutes of the kick off but scores were soon levelled after some good phased play on the right hand side of the PGH 22 by the Southport pack, before the backs were able to pass quickly through hands to enable Jamie Keijzer to score his first try on the left wing for Southport.
Both sides competed well and shared both territory and possession fairly equally throughout the match but the size and strength of the Preston backline allowed them to break the gain line frequently and, once through the initial tackle line, they had the ability to move the ball through hands to supporting players to covert chances into tries.
Both sides rolled subs on and off throughout but the pattern of play continued with a good contest up front but Southport were often pushed back by some ferocious tackling by the home side and ball to the Southport backline was slow and on the back foot, meaning they were unable to take advantage of a reasonable share of territory and possession.
It wasn't until the final play of the day that Ben Hunt was able to drive over the line to double the Southport score but by this time Preston were out of sight on the scoreboard.
Upon reflection this wasn't a bad performance by Southport who had a significant size and weight disadvantage but competed well for long periods of the game none the less. This level of effort and commitment will be enough to win against lesser opposition which, thankfully, appears to be most other clubs!