Cards Prove Decisive Against League Leaders
Fleetwood looked to try and get back to winning ways after just coming short last week against Tarleton, but sadly it wasn’t going to be today.
Fleetwood started the game with a kick into the middle of Altrincham’s half, which the opposition knocked on. From the resulting scrum Fleetwood were driven backwards by the powerful AK forwards. Moments later ‘Fleet’ were awarded a penalty, and Gavin Rowell slotted it 3-0. After breaking the Altrincham line, Brad Stapleton scored in the corner, 3 tries from 3 games for Brad. The conversion was missed, 8-0. Minutes later, from a scrum and good forward work, it was Altrincham’s turn to score.. Conversion scored, 8-7. Moments later Fleetwood conceded a penalty on their 5 metre line, a scrum is chosen. The AK 8 picked and went right, another pick and go from the ruck Altrincham score a second try. The conversion made it 8-14.
Fleetwood then sprang into life playing some scintillating rugby. A chip through the middle of the pitch by Mike Kelly and Jamie Mayall got on the end of it to score. Gavin converted to put Fleetwood back in the lead, 15-14. After a great restart, ‘Fleet’ played it up the middle, a great try by George Orry lengthened ‘Fleets’ lead. The conversion by Gavin gave us a healthy 22 – 14 lead. Ricky Newton shocked us all with a great run, dummy and side step, however after that magical footwork Altrincham put an end to his run. Fleetwood won a penalty, and the kick was smoothly taken by Gavin, 25-14.
It was about 5 minutes before halftime when the tempo of the match was changed. At a midfield ruck, Referee Gavin Jones adjudged Chris Jones to be guilty of stamping and issued a red card. The second half was going to be a difficult time for Fleet with only 14 men. Just before half time AK used their superior numbers to find a gap in the Green and Gold defence and score a try. Conversion missed. 25-19 to Fleet at half time.
Dogged defence at the start of the second half kept AK at bay for a while but from a 5 metre line out Altrincham’s numerically superior pack drove over the line for a converted try to put them back in the lead, 25-26. A good chip over the Altrincham defence by Mike Kelly almost put ‘Fleet’ in a great position, but Tanner Canning’s foot was just out after an excellent diving catch. Moments later Fleetwood were down to 13 men for 10 minutes due to a technical offence by Mike Kelly. Altrincham scored a few phases later from the penalty, conversion missed, 25-31. Altrincham scored again after the back of a scrum, a few picks from the back of rucks. Conversion scored, 25-38. Fleetwood conceded yet another line-out near their 5 metre line. After a few attempts at a driving maul, Altrincham added to their lead, 25-43. A second yellow for Jack Crompton again reduced Fleet to 13 men. from a scrum on ‘Fleet’s’ 5 metre line AK’s number 8 picked up the ball and dived over for the final try of the game, conversion scored, Full time, 25-50.
Fleetwood started the game off very strongly, although second best in the tight, were punching holes in the Altrincham defence at every opportunity in the first half. The turning point was the red card decision. Referee Gavin Jones had a good game and Fleet cannot blame him for their loss. The second half showed why Altrincham are top of the league as they showed a ruthless streak exploiting their numerical advantage to put Fleetwood to the sword.
Fleetwood kept on battling and showed great commitment. They battled hard to get a 4th try and bonus point but it was not to be. The Altrincham Kersal fans were pleased to have won but also acknowledged the part Fleetwood played in an excellent game played, despite the cards, in a good spirit.
Man of the match (as chosen by out sponsor this week, David Woodcock) was awarded to Karl Bowling for his great defensive work and penetrative running.