BY GEORGE, ABOOD WITH ME!
By Graham Ellis
Read this and be uplifted! Yet again the Grange Hill and Last of the Summer Wine fusion continue to surpass. George Baumber was in the engine room...
The seconds travelled to Littlebrough on a coach eagerly anticipating the opportunity to get another win under their belts. Even though preparation wasn't ideal as they only had 20 minutes to warm up the team started really well. Phase after phase in the forwards meant space for the backs which the half back pairing of Abood and Parkinson certainly exploited. Parkinson had already made one clean break before repeating the trick to score under the posts.
This however galvanised the monstrous pack of Littleborough who started to steal ball in the lineout and more importantly dominate the scrum. This led to intense pressure and two quick tries in succession to turn the scoreboard in their favour 10-7.
Southport also suffered the huge loss of Lovett who's form recently has led to calls for a 1st team call up. With Lawrenson stepping up to prop how would the team respond?
What followed to half time says a lot about the team with some quality rugby by both ends of the age spectrum. Straight away Pagan took things into his own hands going on a 40 metre slalom run well into the opposition half only to be denied by an outstanding tap tackle from the opposition fullback.
This gave belief to everyone and Williams and Keiron were a real driving force in the forwards in the loose, with the veteran pair of Gillow and Davenport doing excellent work tight to the rucks. Abood demanded the ball, Parkinson fed Rylands who showed both vision in spotting the fullback was missing and skill to run right up to the gain line before slotting an exquisite grubber through for captain Tees to chase. He won the chase kicked through and scored under the posts.
The team were on fire Hewitt and Lawrenson broke the line, phase after phase followed and eventually Gillow grounded out wide on the left. He nearly repeated the trick minutes later and even though Littleborough scored themselves, at the half time whistle Southport felt they had the game in their hand, but Tees demanded the team didn't rest on their laurels as the uphill slope would definitely be an advantage for the opposition pack and score another try soon. His wish was granted within minutes of the restart with Drescher leaving defenders in his wake which he did all day before drawing the fullback and passing inside to the supporting Rylands.
The try wasn't as crucial as some would have thought with Littleborough pushing hard in scrums, rucking well and setting up camp in Southports half. The togetherness that has been generated within this team blending the abilities of the Vets and the upcoming Colts showed in the bodies on the line defending that meant Littleborough were held at bay. When they eventually cleared their lines they won a penalty and decided to run it. Keiron took it 20 metres to the 22 but importantly they couldn’t take him down. Good support play led to a maul being set with Tees leading that drive. On and on they went closer and closer to the line but as momentum was lost Abood stepped to his left with Drescher in support he could of passed but had the belief to duck under the oncoming tackle and score. 31 -10 game over!!!
But no Littlebrough came again and the final 15-20 minutes was all them but a combination of decision making, handling and just pure solid defence with Tees, Parkinson especially rucking like gnarled forwards not the spritely backs they are meant Littlebrough only scored twice with a final score of 31-22 in Southports favour. If we’re honest with another 10 minutes the score would have been different as Southport were spent at the end.
Man of the match was Lawrence Abood who was superb throughout but produced the outstanding moment of the first half when spotting the fullback out of position put in a 40 metre box kick down to 1 metre of the try line. The selectors will surely be looking to see this talent training and pushing for first team selection. He was pushed however by forwards Cameron and Keiron who provided real impetus and power.
Editor: A grey haired second row didn’t do too bad either on pitch or paper!