With three games remaining, closest rivals Rossendale RFC, even with maximum points, will mathematically not now be able to overhaul DMRFC, returning the club back into National League Two (North), after an absence of three years, thus securing the title for DMPRFC.
The fog encountered on the way to Merseyside, soon lifted on arrival at Waterloo RFC, where a touring DMPRFC U15 side had set the tone for the afternoon in the sunshine, with a well deserved 5 – 10 victory, watched by all of the 1ST XV.
So therefore, it was only fitting, when proceedings began in the main game, that their senior counterparts followed suit.
Waterloo RFC had showed decent form on their home patch all season and by all accounts were determined to provide a stiff test for the league leaders.
However, DMPRFC started in blistering form, registering two tries before the home side had, has time to draw breath, let alone get their hands on the ball.
Cameron Mitchell scored the first try after DMPRFC powered their way to the home line from the off. An attacking lineout was won and driven on by prop Dan MILLER, who was brought down illegally. With play carrying on as the official sought to provide advantage, the ball was whisked out, finding Cameron MITCHELL running a cutting line through the home defence to the line (0 – 5). The afters were easy for Tom Hodgson
, who slotted from close range (0 – 7).
Early pressure seemed relentless from the visitors, as a defensive line out for Waterloo was lost, gathered by lock Chris CAMBELL, who drove for the line. Waterloo defenders stopped him and when the ball was freed, scrum half Zylon McGaffin
found No. 8 Danny DIXON, who smashed it up into the heart of the home defence. Again the ball was whisked out wide and from the resulting breakdown, Zylon McGaffin
saw the opportunity to slip through the cover defence for the score under the posts (0 – 12). Once again the conversion was easy for a grateful Tom Hodgson
, who obliged (0 – 14).
Waterloo had to decide to intervene at this stage, as only 12 minutes had elapsed at this stage and it appeared as though DMPRFC were in for an easy day.
However, to their credit, Waterloo showed their supporters their mettle and responded, matching DMPRFC with some dogged defence for the remainder of the first half, not allowing any further loss of points.
In fact, on a rare excursion into the visiting 22, Waterloo managed a penalty (3 – 14) and with that score line at oranges, those on ‘Boozersbank’ may have thought a tight game was ahead.
DMPRFC though, had passed up the opportunity of more points with some sloppy handling, preventing maybe two further scores, but credit to Waterloo, they did up their game at this stage.
Normal service was resumed immediately after oranges, when a high ball out of the Waterloo defence was taken in flight superbly by the rangy full back Paul SHEPERD. The ball was set up and spun out wide. No. 8 Danny DIXON, who was having a fine game, surged on to the ball, bludgeoning away a sizeable gap in the defence on his way to a twenty metre run. Despite the fact that he had left behind a boot, he had the presence of mind to offload to the grateful Zylon McGaffin
who had tracked his run, who ran on to outpace the defence to score (3 – 19), again allowing the extras to be easy (3 – 21), this time for Max Connon
who had taken over the kicking duties.
From then on, every time DMPRFC were able to have the ball in their hands, they looked dangerous and the next try was a joint effort between forwards and backs in the build up.
Winger Shaun McCartney
made good ground past the halfway line, until he was stopped by defenders. From the resultant contact, the ball was flung out by Max Connon
to skipper Junior Fagalilo
who intelligently passed to Danny DIXON, who powered his way to the line. As he sent the last defender flying, Waterloo managed to stop him, but as the ball came out, Max Connon
found the gap and strode through to touch down near the posts (3 – 26), making the conversion easy for himself (3 – 28).
Waterloo were trying to put together some attacking play of their own, however, with the constant and tireless efforts of flankers Will McCaulay
and Luke WISHNOWSKY, they did not have the ball for any significant periods with which to conjure any scoring opportunities.
The thirty point barrier was broken by unsung lock Neil YOUNG, from a five metre attacking lineout. His young counterpart and fellow hard working lock Chris Campbell
, took a ball at the front and in turn fed Neil YOUNG who was blazing a trail down the tramlines to score a popular try (3 – 33).
With the time ticking over to the 60 minute mark, changes were made in the DMPRFC personnel, with young prop Ben Simpson
, utility forward Tom Schofield
and scrum half Todd HARRISON all taking to the field.
DMPRFC’s sixth and last try emanated from a Waterloo defensive lineout. Danny DIXON gathered the ball and set it up for Todd HARRISON to feed a straight running Cameron MITCHELL who went over near to the posts to complete his brace (3 – 38). A simple conversion followed for Max Connon
(3 – 40).
As DMPRFC relaxed, Waterloo seized the opportunity and score a late converted try to reduce the score line, but it was DMPRFC‘s day and well deserved it was.