The 2s made their shortest away trip of the year to St Helens looking to extend their winning streak to 4 and improve on the draw earlier on.
Dave Atherton reports
After losing a not quite fit again Matt Casselton in the warm up the 2s were fortunate that Rob White had his kit with him so that they could keep the squad of 18. Talk in the warm up was about getting off to a quick start and maintain that, unfortunately the start was anything but quick and after some uncertainty from the kick-off West Park soon opened the scoring with an unconverted try.
This did however kick start ‘Port’s efforts and within a couple of minutes they were on the scoreboard as David Atherton slotted a penalty after Umar Uddin was hit with a very high swinging arm. Atherton soon doubled the score with another penalty as the ‘Port forwards were gaining an ascendancy at the breakdown, led well by Calum Monaghan and Kristian Griffiths.
Southport were soon going forward again with the driving maul going really well, although a couple of try scoring opportunities were missed. After a couple of good runs from the likes of Cameron Williams and Martin Bailey there was a flurry of offload and passes between forwards and backs, before quickly recycled ball at a ruck led to Andy Boland offloading on the inside finding Monaghan to score a great team try. With Atherton adding the conversion the score was 13-5 and ‘Port were looking good.
With just 5 minutes left in the half, however, a rare lapse in the Southport defence allowed West Park in under the posts and left the game tightly poised at half time 12-13.
The second half was a battle of defences, with neither side really managing to string phases together. Southport were rang the changes with White and Mike Shaw replacing Tom Johnson and Uddin after solid performances, and Will Scott-Abbott replacing Ryan Bailey with what appeared to be a very serious toenail injury (although he did make a Lazarus like recovery to run in the Southport RFC Steeplechase later in the evening).
With just under 10 minutes to go West Park’s centre found a gap in the Southport defensive line to score out wide. With the conversion missed ‘Port were just 4 points behind and determined to maintain their winning streak. After forcing play into the right hand corner the boys from Waterloo Road went through phases with quick recycled ball. When the ball was called for to the left Boland again found Monaghan who crashed over for his second try of the game. Atherton’s conversion from out wide left Southport with a 3 point lead and just 3 minutes to defend it. The 2s managed this and built their win streak up to 4.
There were a number of good performances with Rei Chambers tackling hard all game and Graham Riley carrying the ball well, but Man of the Match went to Kristian Griffiths who didn’t put a foot wrong all day and was carrying and tackling well for the full 80 minutes.
A week off next week to rest tired and sore bodies (even toes!!) and then off to Sedgley Park for the final game of a tricky but rewarding first season in a new division. Let’s try and make it five in a row, boys!!