Unstoppable Caldy victorious in biggest challenge to date
Caldy 3rd XV were undoubtedly underdogs in this Semi final clash against Fleetwood 2nd XV. The strong Fleetwood side have already secured promotion from the level above us and have nearly passed a thousand league points scored.
Caldy welcomed back Maffa to the front row with his first performance of the season but were without the injured Paul White and holidaying Graeme Birch. Fleetwood kicked off and the opening exchanges were played in between the 22s. The ball was turned over repeatedly after big defensive tackles. Fleetwood’ set piece had all of the signs of a team that trained together and this was going to cause Caldy problems. Caldy compensated for this lack of organisation by doggedly tackling anything that moved and fighting for every 50:50 ball. Neither team had scoring opportunities in the first half and in attacking terms Caldy’s high point was probably taking clean line out ball just inside the Fleetwood and driving them back to deep inside their 22. The resultant penalty was easily kicked by Max Doyle to give the home side a 3 point lead at the interval.
The second half could not have started any worse for Caldy. Lack of organisation resulted in Fleetwood taking easy ball and working good attacking plays up the left hand side of the park. Their winger scored an excellent try in the corner that was converted to give the Fleetwood side a 7 – 3 lead. It looked as if this game might just be a step too far for the Caldy lads but, as they have done on numerous occasions this season they came out fighting. Having lost Mad Jack and Ben Wylie through injury Caldy now found themselves with three back row players in the three quarters but used this to their advantage. Charlie Sutherst made a fantastic break through the centres to score Caldy’s first try of the day. Doyle converted from out wide. This was quickly followed by a Carl Porschki try – Caldy’s forwards were piling on pressure with phase after phase when Carl looked to pass wide but darted inside for one of his trademark touchdowns. The final Caldy try came from a maul just outside the Caldy 22. Max Doyle wrestled the ball from the Fleetwood No 8 and it passed through the hands of Bagley, Hatfield, Sheldon, Harper and then Sutherst who rounded his man and crashed over for a well worked try. Fleetwood fought back and scored a second try in the corner but the final whistle went with Caldy victorious by 22 points to 12.
The Final is played at Stockport on the 5th May and we will be playing Sale FC 2nd XV who are undefeated so far this season.
Moment of the match is Max Doyle’s extraordinary mauling skills (on two occasions stealing the ball from the No 8 who was at least twice Max’s weight.) Mauling skills that have none of us have seen before.
Man of the match – could go to any of the 20 players – Our kicking game was well thought through and executed, our defence was once again faultless and the determination to win the ball at all costs from the likes of Sanders and Jamie Manson was fantastic but Man of the Match for an all round performance that lacked nothing goes to Max Doyle.