AK (15) v (0) Heaton Moor
An Impressive start to the Conference League for the Junior Colts
The mid season seedings saw Altrincham Kersal placed in Conference League B, the first fixture against a Heaton Moor team who have shown good form in recent games.
The Kersal boys have been working hard to improve certain areas of their game over the break, specifically set piece moves and line out consistency. Evidence of their progress was clear throughout the game with the lineout win ratio significantly up on prior weeks and several well executed penalty moves used to good effect.
Kersal had a shaky start to the game making several errors and not taking note of the referees warnings, particularly at the breakdown. Heaton Moor threatened to score, but Kersal kept their discipline in defence holding play up and forcing mistakes from the opposition. AK were lucky to go unpunished inside the first 15 minutes following a 60m run which was unchallenged, only last gasp defending saved the day.
Kersal eventually started to assert control on the game, spending increasingly more time in Heaton Moor territory. On 17 minutes Moor won the ball from their own scrum 22m from their own line, Tom Sullivan was quick away from the pack to tackle the ball carrier and steal the ball. Kersal were able to spread play to the right were Jay Thompson went over to make it 5-0. The try gave Kersal a real confidence boost as they looked to build on their lead. A notable factor of AK’s early season games was their poor lineout record, this game saw a swing in fortune as the home team not only retained possession on their own throw in, but repeatedly competed on the Heaton Moor throw to turnover the ball on at least least four occasions in the first half. Both Daldry and Joyce impressed with their jumping. An open first 35 minutes ended 5-0 to the home side.
The second half started with Altrincham continuing to dominate the territorial battle. Play was very stop start with penalty after penalty, the referee pulling up both sides. 41 minutes in AK won a penalty 15m from the Heaton Moor line, the ref punished the away team for not retreating. The subsequent penalty found Anthony Tanner on the left who had the strength to drive over and score to put Kersal 10-0 up.
Altrincham were now eager to add to their lead and chase down a bonus point victory. With 15 minutes to go Heaton Moor kicked to clear their lines, Thompson took the catch and headed off on a run through the middle finding the gaps in the on rushing defence. He fed the ball out to the right where a supporting Tom Gill picked up the final pass to score right on the flag to put AK 15-0 in front.
Kersal’s well deserved clean sheet was at risk late on when Moor made a 50m breakaway down the right wing. They looked certain to score, but hadn’t accounted for the covering Backhouse who made the tackle of the game to save a try. AK were shown two yellow cards in the final five mins for continued infringement at the ruck. Fortunately it didn’t affect the outcome of the game.
A great start to the Conference League for Kersal. A superb level of commitment, attitude and technical skill on display from everyone involved.