Second Half Showing Sees Blackpool Home Safe
Winning start continues!!
Blackpool maintained their winning start to the league season with a scrappy 43 – 19 victory over Preston Grasshoppers. Injury and work commitments saw Blackpool make a number of changes from the side that defeated Fleetwood last weekend.
After a slow start to the contest, the game burst into life as Gordon Richmond broke through from deep inside his own half on a lung busting 70m run downfield and although the fullback was denied by some superb cover defence from the Grasshoppers, the ball was quickly recycled with Carl Reynolds darting through the gap to touch down for an 5 – 0 lead.
Unfortunately this was as good as it would get for the hosts in the first period as a number of infringements gifted the visitors a monopoly both in terms of possession and field position. Despite some dogged defence from the home side, typified by the efforts of James Carty, Stuart charnock and Chris Parlour amongst others, it came as no surprise when Preston levelled matters as they crashed over from close range. As the first half wore on Blackpool were struggling to find their rhythm in attack and were their own worst enemies as they conceded numerous penalties to hand Grasshoppers control of the game. The home side's task was made harder as they lost flanker Louis Shelton to a game ending head injury and with seconds left in the first half they found themselves behind on the scoreboard as the away side crossed for a converted try.
A fired up team talk at the interval saw Blackpool start the second period with a renewed focus. This switch up in gears soon paid dividends as good work from Tristan Ainscough and Mick Harrison created the platform for a powerful run and offload from Dean Finegan, who found Daniel Komosinski, with the number eight then slipping out a great pass to send the supporting Reynolds diving in under the posts for his second try of the day. Luke Crosbie slotted over the resultant conversion to bring the teams level once more.
Minutes later Blackpool went ahead as Finegan picked up ball around halfway and embarked on bulldozing run downfield, akin to a runaway freight train, as he bounced a number of would tacklers off him and showcased a good turn of pace as he crossed for a great solo try with Crosbie's conversion stretching the lead further. The home side were in the ascendency as this point and were soon over the whitewash again as powerful carries from Zac Garner and Alasdair Wilson laid the foundations for flyhalf Adam Glover to skip through the Preston defence with some fancy footwork and touch down with Crosbie once more adding the conversion to establish a 26 – 12 lead.
Preston to their credit struck back, as aided by consecutive penalties they had a sustained period of pressure on the Blackpool line, which paid off as they darted over for a converted try to bring the game back into the balance. The introduction of Matty Hicks, Russell Woodward and Dave Collett from the bench brought a renewed impetus and energy to the hosts and they soon re-established a commanding advantage as quick hands along the backline released Richmond, who drew in the cover defence and slipped a great pass to send Ashley Swarbrick racing 50m down the touchline to score with Crosbie adding his fourth conversion of the afternoon.
The home side were determined to increase their lead further and did so minutes later as a great hit from Antony Clark dislodged the ball from the Preston player's grasp with centre Paul Vuti quickest to react as he snapped up the loose ball and galloped 40m to dot the ball over the whitewash. With the clock running down Blackpool still had time for one final score as from a quick tap penalty Glover's long pass found Clark, with the outside centre pulling in the last defender before releasing a pass to send Swarbrick diving over in the corner for his second try of the afternoon and a final scoreline of 43-19.
Although not a vintage display by any means, Blackpool will be pleased to have picked up another win even when not at their best. The hosts will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the league season next weekend when they play host to Burnley 3rds.
Team: 1. Mick Harrison 2. Chris Parlour 3. Dean Finegan 4. Stuart charnock 5. Tristan Ainscough 6. Luke Crosbie 7. Louis Shelton 8. Daniel Komosinski 9. Carl Reynolds 10. Adam Glover 11. James Carty 12. Paul Vuti 13. Antony Clark 14. Ashley Swarbrick 15. Gordon Richmond
Replacements: 16. Russell Woodward 17. Dave Collett 18. Zac Garner 19. Matty Hicks 20. Alasdair Wilson
Tries: Reynolds (2), Swarbrick (2), Finegan, Glover, Vuti
Conversions: Crosbie 4/7