Thirds Oh So Close
By Graham Ellis
Cross Lane Wallasey was the destination for the 3's last Saturday to face a rejuvenated home 1st XV. Skipper Graham Whyte reports:
The hosts have picked up some good results recently and more importantly more playing members for their club. In the face of this it was a tough ask Southport but how ell they did.
Southport were bolstered by Andy Boland at 9, Joe and Josh Spencer in the backs and the return of Stephen Hunter in the centre's.
The game started well for Southport, the forwards dominating the early scrums. Mathew Croughan, slotted into the back row for the first time, deserving all the plaudits for a great performance. This being his first season playing rugby.
The first try of the game was scored by the hosts, some good play at the breakdown inside Southport's 22, allowing Wallasey to get the ball threw hands quickly to the inside centre, who crashed over the line.
A great chase from Andy Boland and Josh Spencer from the restart almost resulted in Southport gaining possession, but an unlucky bounce meant the ball landed in the hands of the Wallasey number 9, who quickly got the ball wide, some great defence from Southport was undone by an outrageous out the back door pass from Wallasey's centre allowing the winger to score. A converted penalty and another try from the hosts centre meant the first half finished 24-0 to the home team.
But this game was the proverbial game of 2 halves! The second half belonging to Southport. Early on in the half under some good pressure from Wallasey inside their own 5 metre line, Southport's Josh Spencer intercepted a pass and took the ball all the way to score. He also kicked the conversion. Southport's tails were up now. And a superb break through the middle, meant another try for Josh, with the conversion it brought the scores even closer 24-14.
A quick tap and go from a penalty for Wallasey shortly after resulted in another try for the hosts. This however did not deter the visitors, a very similar situation resulting in Andy Boland running in Southport's 3rd try. Wallasey were on the back foot now as relentless pressure from the Southport forwards meant Neil Bayliff could crash over for try number 4. Unfortunately it was too late for the visitors as time ran out after the conversion attempt. A brilliant performance meant Southport won the second half by 24-7 but ultimately lost the game by 31-24. Well done to all.
As captain I was immensely proud of the lads performance, a great game to be involved in. The determination and never say die attitude shone through.