Southport ladies stung away at Kendal
The ladies suffered a narrow, unlucky 22-20 defeat away at Kendal in second league fixture.
Southport ladies embarked on the long journey up to the new Cumbrian side, Kendal, full of confidence following their opening league victory.
In an evenly matched contest the game was wide open for the first 15 minutes- with the score remaining 0-0. However, the Kendal fly-half kicked over the top of the Southport defence and their speedy centre gathered the ball and raced over for the opening points of the game.
This fired up the Southport forwards who continually powered through the Kendal defence, moving up the pitch with purpose. Scrum half Faye Dagnall found Southport no.8 Lauren McCluskey, who crashed through three Kendal players from five metres out to get Southport back in the game. Unfortunately, the angle for the conversion was difficult but full credit goes to Natalie Burns who managed to hit the post with her attempt.
The Southport forwards continued to dominate the play, sucking in the Kendal defence. This gave the backs space to pass the ball down the line in attack, with Fiona Beckham finding full-back Jodie Eaves, who was player of the match, on the over lap- who ran a perfect line and used her lightening pace to cut through the Kendal defence and score in the corner. Again Burns stepped up for the kick but the difficult conversion was narrowly missed.
Kendal then began to move the ball up the pitch but the Southport defence stood strong. Captain McCluskey stole the ball from a ruck in the Southport 22, broke two tackles and ran the length of the pitch, finding a change of speed to evade the chasing Kendal defence and score between the posts. The conversion was missed and the half ended 5-15.
At the start of the second half Southport made changes to introduce some fresh legs into the side. However, whilst the team was adjusting to the changes Kendal took advantage and found their speedy centres, who punished Southport mistakes and scored two quick tries, one converted. Certainly the strong defence and play at the ruck which characterised the opening league win was lacking in second period. The score now 17-15 to home side.
Southport were not going to go down without a fight and a period of the dominating forwards powering through the Kendal defence made yards up the pitch. This resulted in a penalty which Dagnall took quickly to debutant Alison ‘Moggy’ Morris, drawing in the Kendal defence and allowing opportunity to get the ball out to winger Rachel Porter, who danced through the Kendal defence to score in the corner. Southport did not bring their kicking boots up north today, and with Burns off the pitch kicking duties were passed to Emma Donnelly who unfortunately missed the chance to add to the extras.
With time running out Kendal again used the big boot of the fly-half to launch the ball up the pitch- Southport’s defence scrambled back, with the Kendal backs chasing up quickly. The Kendal winger appeared to knock the ball on, which was not seen and gathered up and scrambled over the line. The game ended 22-20 to the home side.
Southport dominated the game for long periods and credit must go to the team for some of the fighting spirit they showed and whilst they were very disappointed to not get anything from the game they can still take positives from the game. Special mention must go to both Jodie Eaves and Debbie Morris for some fantastic defensive tackling that kept Southport in the contest.