Season 2017/18 off to a flyer for 1XV at Waterloo
passion, determination, attitude....a winning combo!!
AK (33) vs FIRWOOD WATERLOO (31) Sat 2nd September 2017
First game of the season and Altrincham Kersal RFC 1XV travelled to Firwood Waterloo with an open mind, firm in the knowledge that player recruitment had gone well throughout the off season and confident that the previous Cup fixture against Wirral (a league above) the week before had left AK with high hopes for the season, after a great 60 minutes of rugby. AK were therefore, well within their rights in facing Waterloo with the bit firmly between their teeth in going to Loo's prestigious ground and looking for the win!
AK started slowly, just as they did against Wirral the week before, conceding a stupid amount of penalties in the opening 15 minutes but defending well, at times seeming to do their utmost to make it a very difficult afternoon for themselves, which Waterloo seized upon to take the advantage of the barrage of penalties AK were handing to them at the breakdown, gifting a persistent Loo backline the opportunity to cross for the score, Loo capitalised and went in front around the 15 minute mark. AK rallied, taking the Loo front 5 to pieces at almost every scrum, giving a platform for the former Waterloo winger Joe Kelly, to cross in the corner, a great way to respond against your old club.
From the restart the game now started to open up into a good battle between the two packs, both sets of forwards running hard lines into each other, aiming to get their destructive backlines on the front foot. This eventually played into Waterloo’s hands with their young fly half kicking well out of hand, pinning the AK pack into their corner. The line outs were rather slow throughout the game and Loo tried their utmost to keep it that way, giving Loo’s forwards a great opportunity for a catch and drive, which they gladly accepted, letting their forwards notch a score on the scoreboard nudging them back in front 12-7.
AK once again dug in, regrouping from the restart, turning over possession and setting up a set of plays, before a break from James Coulson tidied up by Skipper Bailey, kept the AK momentum going forward, a great set of phases from scrum half Yates and Coleman at fly half, kept AK moving forwards by honest hard work and making crucial yards, to eventually release James Coulson again this time putting his younger brother John in the corner by an acute kick, which bobbled into the try area for John Coulson to touch down 12-14 to AK at the Break.
The second half got underway pretty much as the first half started, with the determined AK pack grinding down the Loo forwards at the scrum but the Loo backline making the hard yards with ball in hand for the dangerous 12-13 combo they had working well in the middle of the pitch.
Waterloo came out firing after the break, putting a series of set plays together, eventually crossing for another score 19-14 to Loo. The recurring theme of the game struck again, with the AK lads rallying together after Loo scored, with some hard carries from Vice Skipper Richardson, Maitra and Frost making those critical yards into the Loo half, the ball was now being thrown around by the AK backs with Watkins at inside centre at the front of it all.
After several phases space was found for Richardson, who somehow found himself in space on the wing, to flop over to level the scores 19-19. From the restart AK seemed to go to sleep, to the obvious annoyance of the AK coaching team and Skipper Bailey, witnessing a lack of urgency in defence, which disappointingly allowed Loo to score two quick try's in succession, putting them 31-19 in front with 13 minutes to go!
We all know that most teams would have caved with that sort of score and with so little time to go but not this year’s AK side, they bonded together like teams of old and pulled a wonderful last 10 minutes out of the bag, with tries from Matt Moss, after forcing an error from the Waterloo winger presenting him with an easy touch down and from AK’s young blindside flanker Micah Dyos, who has matured into a key influential AK pack member, scoring what turned out to be the winning try.
The gutsy, passionate victory at Waterloo, where for any player, is still a wonderful place to pull on a shirt and play rugby, will go down as a great start to the new season for the AK lads, next Saturday’s 9th September’s fixture can’t come quick enough, as AK welcome Wilmslow back to Stelfox Ave, in what is always a fiercely contested local derby, between two fully committed teams.
AK will want to kick on and keep this winning feeling going and improve week by week, and with some senior squad members yet to return, AK are keen to make a statement and to improve on last year’s league position.