Altrincham Kersal (21) vs Bowdon (13)
Kersal take the points as the top two in the league meet for the first time this season
There’s always an added hint of desire when the two local rivals meet, as friendships are put to one side for an afternoon. This fixture had an added edge as the top two teams in the Colts league met for the first time this season.
Bowdon came into the game with a 100% winning record this season having put in some very impressive high scoring performances against their opposition. Kersal had only lost one game and were on a winning run going back to October. A win was important for both sides, with much more the bragging rights at stake.
Kersal started off poorly, giving away a succession of penalties which put Bowdon deep into attacking territory. Kersal had a game plan however and their defensive duties worked well, not allowing Bowdon the space to gain further advantage in possession. On nine minutes Kersal conceded a penalty 25 metres out in front of the posts, which Bowdon opted to kick for goal to take an early 0-3 lead. Tom Gill made a good restart, but Kersal gave away the territory again through another needless penalty. Bowdon continued to play in the attacking half, extending their lead to 0-6 through another penalty kick on 22 minutes. Altrincham were defending tightly, keeping Bowdon back. On 26 minutes Max Brooks slotted home a penalty in front of the posts to put Kersal on the board after some good attacking interplay through the middle of the park, the handling and movement was impressive on the eye.
Bowdon extended their lead to ten points within four minutes, breaking the Kersal line and scoring and converting to take the score to 3-13.
Kersal kept their heads up and brought the score back to three points right on half time. Tom Gill superbly intercepted a wayward Bowdon pass on half way, racing through to score under the posts. Max Brooke’s converted to take the score to 10-13 at the break.
Kersal took the lead for the first time in the game early in the second half from the dependable boot of Brooke’s as he kicked two penalties in quick succession. At 16-13, the momentum was now with the home team, who maintained their aggression in defence, whilst removing the errors which had cost them in the first half.
Altrincham were awarded a line out on the Bowdon 5 metre line on 57 minutes. The ball was taken cleanly and the supporting pack set up a solid driving maul which the bigger Bowdon pack could not contain, allowing Tom Sullivan at the back to drop over the line to score. Kersal now had an eight point lead heading into the final stages of the game.
Bowdon had an opportunity to bring the score back in the final 5 minutes as Martin broke through the Kersal midfield. He raced through looking certain to score in the corner, only for superb cover defending from Sam Walsh, Jay Thompson and Max Brooke’s to seal off his route and tackle him into touch.
In the final minutes Altrincham look composed in possession, Tom Gill kicking deep into Bowdon territory. Bowdon had a couple of late penalties, electing to run the ball from inside their own 22m line. Kersal stood firm and kept Bowdon pegged back to record an impressive and well deserved victory.
With just three games to go and a return fixture at Clay Lane in three weeks time, the race for the league title is going to the wire.
Tries - Tom Gill, Tom Sullivan
Penalties - Max Brookes (3)
Conversions - Max Brookes (1)