THIRDS CLICK INTO GEAR
By Graham Ellis
Southport 3s faced a tough one on Saturday but put in their performance of the season led by Laurence Abood in his second game back from Australia.
Skipper Graham Whyte reports.
The main pitch at Waterloo Road was the setting as Southport's 3rd XV took on their counterparts from Birkenhead Park. The visitors unbeaten and top of the league prior to the kick off. Southport hoping the momentum would continue from their great second half performance the previous week. Again Lawrence Abood started at 9 with Dave Atherton at !0. A young, fast set of backs led by Steve Hunter and Luke Monaghan in the centres and Connor Rylands at fullback, Jason Fitzpatrick and Tom Rowe occupying the wings. The forwards led again by John Gillow, were bolstered by Bert White and Callum Monaghan at prop and hooker. Jake Pagan playing at 8 with Nick Henthorn and Matty Croughan making up the second row, Graham Whyte and Mark Garner Jones on the flanks.
Southport's pack dominated the early scrums against a tough, wily, experienced Birkenhead pack. Securing possession and gaining territory before the backs were brought into the game. some great passing rugby leading to the home sides first try in the corner. The game continued in this vain for the next 10 minutes, Southport scoring again to make the score 10-0. Birkenhead's pack then started to find their feet in the match and they were rewarded when from 5 metres out the tight head prop crashed over to put the visitors on the score board. 10-5. Southport then turned the screw, some tough, wrecking ball style running from Steve hunter led to try number 3 for the home team. 15-5.at half time.
The second half saw Jamie Church and Dan Lovett enter the fray. Lovett coming on for the ever-improving Henthorn, who had to be taken off after tearing a calf muscle. Some early dominance from Southport led to a converted penalty by Fitzpatrick. 18-5. Unfortunately, some ill-discipline saw the home team reduced to 13 men after Church and Pagan where both yellow carded. This spurred the visitors on, but Southport's defence stood firm against wave after wave of Birkenhead attacking play. The home team couldn't quite manage to keep the visitors out though, after some great tackling their try line was finally breached just before the penalised players returned to the field. 18-10. Now that Southport were back to full strength, the game got away from the visitors, Abood Scoring after some great running once again from Monaghan. 23-10. Another 2 home try's followed, before the away team managed to get another try. The most celebrated try of the day though was reserved for when replacement prop Lovett broke from a ruck and ran 25 metres and scored in the corner, the home fans cheering their approval as time expired.
A brilliant performance and result for the home team in what was a brutal, aggressive encounter against a Birkenhead team who wouldn't lie down. All credit to the visitors for making the game what it was. Well done Southport, a much-deserved win and now a week off to rest your bruised bodies!! Bring on LSH in 2 weeks.