2nd XV's excellent season start continues ..
... with a high scoring display of attacking rugby
An experienced Southport second team welcomed an in-form Littleborough side to Waterloo Road on Saturday. Both teams were looking to capitalise on positive results in the first game week, with Port looking to avenge a bitter result from the corresponding fixture, last season. Captain, Andy Boland, used the disappointing 40-3 defeat as a motivational reminder in his rousing pre-match speech. Port were looking to settle a score.
Southport started as they continued throughout the game, on the front foot, tackling aggressively, rucking with intent and embracing the high-level training provided during pre-season. Unsurprisingly, the first try was scored from a well-worked, previously practised, line out on the opposition’s twenty two. Liam Webb touching down at the back of a penetrating, rolling maul. Josh Spencer added the extras, starting his own personal point’s haul.
The dominance of Port’s forwards provided a solid platform for the backs to work from. Excellent scrummaging from Steele, Webb and Hudson and tireless work from Mike Skelly, Mike Dale and Kristian Griffiths freed some space for number 8, Gareth Lang, to cause havoc in the loose. Littleborough’s attempts at taking the game to Port were suffocated by aggressive defending and some ruthless finishing.
The first half finished 34-0, with the lively Josh Spencer scoring two tries, Phil Hughes finishing from some exceptional interplay in the centres, and, Andy Boland skipping over the whitewash, untouched.
The second half provided more of the same from Port. Jamie Church set the tone early in the second half, driving forward, tying up the opposition and creating overlaps where potential tacklers would have been. This gave the rapid Chris Drescher the space he needed to pick up two tries, one of which was provided by a first-rate kick by fly-half Joe Spencer. Phil Hughes finished an impressive Southport back’s move in the corner, capping an accomplished display from the former Formby man.
Gareth Lang scored two fine tries in the middle of the second half. A feint, a dummy and a step, left the opposition players bewildered, as Lang glided over the line. Even more bewildering was Lang’s carbon copy second try. Again, a feint, a dummy and side step, left the Littleborough players with their heads in their hands. As Lang placed the ball over the try line, to rapturous applause from the clubhouse, four Spitfire’s flew overhead from the Southport Air Show; despite their age, they are still flying. Fitting indeed!
Littleborough’s attempts to disrupt Port’s free-flowing rugby, culminated in two of their players spending ten minutes on the side lines, on separate occasions. This gave more momentum to a rampant Southport. James Tomkinson, in an impressive home debut, racked up two tries in quick succession, and, Will Scott-Abbott finished from some excellent handing from Jason Fitzpatrick and Phil Hughes. Joe Gardner and TJ Johnson seamlessly replaced players in the Southport pack and gave others a boost by showing their desire and work rate.
Josh Spencer completed his hat trick and man-of-the-match performance by running around the increasingly weary Littleborough backs. TJ Johnson muscled through a series of tackles to provide the final score in a 93-0 win. An emphatic score-line, however, this was not left to chance. Almost all of the players, from the second team squad, attended training on Thursday evening. This speaks volumes.
Andy Boland, in the first home game of his captaincy, said “last week, we gave a great defensive display against Eccles. This week, was an excellent attacking display. When we put these two attributes together, we will grow into a good side; we need to keep training and committing to the cause”.
Port will be aware that Littleborough will not take this defeat lightly, and expect a much more competitive game in the return fixture. Overall, an excellent display from Southport, worthy of the exceptional pitch and support. It was nice of The Red Arrows to show their support, too.
Tries: Josh Spencer (3), Gareth Lang (2), Chris Drescher (2), James Tonkinson (2), Andy Boland, Will Scott-Abbott, Liam Webb, TJ Johnson, Phil Hughes.
Coversions: Josh Spencer x 10.
Pen: Josh Spencer x 1