PARK PORK PORT
By Graham Ellis
All in all a tough game against a strong team but with new players setting in lots of positives to take away.
WEST PARK (ST HELENS) 2s 52 SOUTHPORT 3s 0 by Graham Whyte
Brian Henry led his Southport Third XV team down the M57 to face an unknown West Park 3's in the season opener.
A few changes in personnel early Saturday meant a re-shuffle of the team. New Second row Mathew Vella (playing his first game in 11 years) was moved to centre, as was Graham Whyte who normally occupies the number 7 role. A strong pack led by John Gillow and anchored by Nick Hayes was ready to impose themselves.
West Park, for their part, was a team of speedy young wingers and backs. They were complimented by an ex St Helens academy forward and a smattering of last year’s First XV.
The game started badly for Southport, as rustiness and West Park's speed meant an early try in the corner from a 3 on 1 overload, despite an almost try saving tackle on the line. Things continued in this way for the next 15 minutes with a couple more tries out wide. But the Southport's pack was more than a match for West Park’s and gradually began to get some good possession allied with better defensive work meant that the home side was kept out for the rest of the half.
The second period started much as the first half ended with Southport having good possession and defending including some big hits. Things were looking far better. Unfortunately all the possession didn't result in any scores. An intercept try by West Park's number 13 finally broke Southport's resistance and another couple of tries followed quickly. The last ten minutes were tough for Southport, having to play the remainder of the game with thirteen men, due to injury and a yellow card.