TOO MANY COOKS DON'T SPOIL THE BROTH!!!
George Baumber reports on classic game of rugby over the wall at Waterloo Road as two teams battle away right upto the final whistle.
The game was disjointed at first but Southport edged the territory and possession for the first ten minutes. Once Tarleton got the ball their more athletic pack and speedy backs put Southport under enormous pressure. A wonderful chip meant Blinston grounded for a 22 drop out. A poor chase by the Southport pack meant the number 11 for Tarleton slalomed through some slack tackles to score a fine individual try. The restart saw more of the same from Tarleton and many indiscretions by Southport lead to Tarleton hammering away at the Southport line. Finally they worked the huge overlap for their other winger to score in the corner. Cries of "this is easy" may have fired up some old heads and the pack marshalled by Bailiff at 9 decided to play tight.
Working their way up the pitch through scrums and line-out to the excellent Bode they forced a five metre scrum which they drove over but as Dawson went to score the try somehow the impressive Tarleton 9 prevented the grounding of the ball. Not to be deterred within minutes the Southport pack won a scrum against the head and drove the ball the five metres for Dawson to this time claim the try. James Cook on his debut replacing the injured skipper Fitzpatrick slotted the conversion 7 - 12 at halftime.
The second half and with the wind and slope with them, the Southport pack did the hard grunt with pick and drives with Gillow and Church making the short yards. When Shane Cook got the ball at 10 he ran the show picking the right times to run the ball and showing a deftness of touch with his boot. A chip for his son James to collect gave the team some much needed territory. Another kick forced a spillage from the Tarleton 11 and the grounding behind the line. Another scrum pushed over and Dawson and Cook gave Southport a 14 - 12 lead. Tarleton players asked why they were dropping to Ports level. With a prop off and not wanting to use their fourth front row the scrums were uncontested. This definitely favoured Tarleton and the marauding eight punched big holes and excellent scrambling in defence from all the backs and forwards prevented a try being scored. Unfortunately too many penalties meant Tarleton were presented with an easy kick in front of the posts and a 14 - 15 lead with eight to go.
Great spirit and phases of play presented Cook Jr with a penalty 10 metres to the left of the post. Forgetting the fact he doesn't usually kick and this was possibly for the game he calmly kicked it over.
With 3 minutes to play Tarleton threw everything at Southport and inexplicably butchered two huge overlaps with players suffering white line fever. With twenty seconds left they earned one last chance a five metre scrum. Great first up tackles stopped the forwards. Then Tarleton went to their go to man the left winger, he dived for the line but as for most of the game Mawdesley and Cook Jr bundled him into touch, the ref who was excellent throughout blew up and the tired bodies of all Southport celebrated.
Man of the match for Tarleton was their number 9 who'd distribution and turnovers stood out throughout. For Southport it could be anyone of the squad but we'll leave it to Julie Cook to decide whether it is Shane or James who gets the award.