“Some nice rugby and good tries scored, but we've got to tighten up on defence if we want to progress”
Andrew Capbell, Head Coach
Soap made the short trip with 15 players down the M56 to lowly Chester Gladiators who's position in the league defies the fact that they have played teams all in the top half of the division. They were no match for the visitors today though, who were the dominant force throughout the contest.
Marshalled by skipper Hickey and hooker Danny Lee who led the strong running pack full of enthusiastic line breakers such as Sean Millington, Ash Caterall and Alex Charnock in a game that really could have been much more convincing than the 22-44 scoreline suggests.
In a dominant opening spell the visitors penned the Gladiators back in their own half and maintained disciplined pressure leading to the opening score from Matt Mahoney as the ball was shipped to the right. Hickey added the extras.
In a free flowing contest the hosts hit back and levelled proceedings following an uncharacteristic Natham Hamilton error giving Chester hope. Hamilton atoned for the earlier error as he was next to score following great work by Danny Lee to edge back by a converted try in front again.
Yet again, Soap allowed the home team back in to the game and another soft try was conceded on the back of some poor defence and deceptive attacking running by the home stand off and scrum half. Soap always looked like the stronger of the two sides though, and it proved to be the case as they finished the first half on the front foot with two more well worked tries. First, Sean Millington ran a great angled 'unders' line to cross in the corner on 34 minutes that was immediately backed up from kick off by a storming run by Alex Charnock who was felled agonisingly close to the line. Rob Bonehill was on hand in support to take the pass and score the easiest try he will ever score to take a commanding lead in to half time of 12-22.
Soap put the game to bed in the opening exchanges of the second period. A solid opening set of six led to a down field Hickey kick well chased by Danny Lee. Lee then came up with a huge hit dislodging the ball on impact. Hamilton regathered and gave Ash Catterall the simple task of putting the ball down over the line to extend the lead.
In an almost carbon copy try Catterall was the beneficiary again 5 minutes later as the young winger who coughed up possession for the previous try lost out in a one on one tackle by Hickey under the sticks. Hickey handed on to Catterall who won't score two easier tries.
Tries were exchanged for the next 10 minutes as first Chester then Crosfields through Bonehill and then Chester scored to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Hickey had the last laugh though with the last play of the game as the defence fell for an outrageous show and go to score and convert his own try to round off a very convincing performance.
Hickey took the man of the match award, with good support from Lee, Millington, Charnock and Clutterbuck. Next week the Soap are on the road again as they face Langworthy of Salford - 2:30pm KO
Updated 15:38 - 21 Jun 2018 by Kate Hall