Southport Strength in Depth Overpowers Waterloo
By Stephen Hart
Southport U14s take 23 players to Hall Road and demonstrate strength in depth as competition for a place in next weeks Cup match day squad heats up.
Despite a couple of notable absentees and last minute no shows, Southport were able to muster 23 players to travel the short distance to take on Waterloo U14s in a post Christmas friendly at Hall Road playing fields. Waterloo were short of a player for their starting line up so thanks to Ben Hodge, Charles Walton and Charlie Clayton for each joining the opposition for a period in the front row to ensure that we could play XV aside with competitive scrums for the majority of the match.
Southport lacked a little intensity in the opening skirmishes and Waterloo counter rucked fiercely slowing the breakdown and nearly turning over possession a couple of times. However, after 5 minutes loose head Connor Ellerton rampaged through a number of would be Waterloo tacklers and touched down to open the scoring for the visitors, albeit out of range for the conversion kick.
Southport were warming to the task now and were able to secure the majority of territory and possession with some good phased and interchange play between backs and forwards and Ben Hunt, starting as No.8, scored a fine try after a powerful run to which Jake Lawton added the extra points. But a reconfigured Southport backline continued to pass the ball well and it was Luke Hart, starting for the first time as flyhalf, who jinked through the home defence and score the final try of the first period which Edward Sinclair, equally unfamiliar with a starting berth at fullback duly converted.
Southport changes in the pack helped increase the intensity in defence and at the breakdown for the middle period of the match where both Jamie Keijzer, now at fullback and Jake Lawton on the left wing, were able to finish slick handling moves out wide between a brace from Euan Thomas now on at No.8, the second of which was converted by Lawton. However, the period closed with an excellent counter attacking try from Waterloo which justly rewarded their sterling defensive efforts.
Southport were able to rotate players again for the final period of the match but any thought that the home team was tiring was soon dispelled as Waterloo had their best period of the match which led to a pair of tries, one of which was converted, and it could have been more if it had not been for a try saving last ditch tackle for Southport by Hart. However, lock Jack Cooper was to power over to score the last try of the game for Southport before time was up.
The Southport coaches will be happy with some good performances from players pushing for Cup selection and from established players in unfamiliar positions today. Much to think about ahead of the crunch home cup tie against Blackburn next Sunday.