Altrincham Kersal (31) vs (7) Vale of Lune
New season off to a flying start
The Senior Colts squad has been bolstered this year by the inclusion of several very capable lads from the younger age group, which has given the group significant strength in depth, especially in the forwards. The group had only trained once prior to the season opener, so there was inevitably going to be allowances made for the players to get to grips with moves and calls.
Vale started off strongly dominating the early encounters, playing much of the first 10 minutes inside the Kersal half. It looked like we were in for a tough afternoon. However AK remained patient and disciplined in defence and on 11 minutes broke the deadlock. Sam Walsh fed Archie Somers who made a 30 metre break down the right into the Vale half before he was taken to ground. Fabio Higginson took the ball from Somers on the floor with a pick and go on the blind side, gaining another 10 metres before being tackled. At the breakdown Walsh quickly saw a gap on the fringes of the ruck which he darted through to score under the posts. Max Brookes converted to give AK a 7-0 lead.
Kersal gained confidence from the first score and they started to take a grip on the game. On 22 minutes AK had a 5m scrum, Walsh found Tom Gill who saw the space in the 10/12 channel sending a dummy to the Vale centre, before stepping inside to score from 10m out. Brookes converted easily, to extend AK's lead to 14-0.
AK's pressure was really starting to pay off now and on 32 minutes they added to the score. From a 5m line out the home team secured the ball to set up a driving maul which Vale could not compete with. Alistair Merrill protected the ball at the rear, going over to score on his Senior Colts debut and to send Kersal in with a 19-0 lead at the break.
The first five minutes of the second half was even with both teams gaining and losing possession. After 41 minutes Kersal were awarded a penalty 5m out. Walsh released the oncoming Gill who powered through from close range to score his second of the game, Brookes slotting home his third conversion to make the score 26-0.
Another debut try came on 52 minutes. Cormac Grieves made an excellent overlapping run down the left and looked almost certain to score, only to be tackled 1m short of the line, he was alert to the support around him and impressively found Ollie Higson with a well placed pop pass giving him the simplest of scores to increase the lead to 31-0.
Vale didn't give up and in the closing minutes were rewarded for their efforts after the official deemed several Kersal players infringing the offside line sufficient enough to award a penalty try.
The game finished 31-7 to Altrincham Kersal, a confidence boosting win which dusted off the summer cobwebs and gave the new, enlarged squad much needed playing time together.
Tries: Sam Walsh, Tom Gill (2), Alistair Merrill, Ollie Higson
Cons: Max Brookes (3)