The Second String Finally Get Their Just Rewards After Weeks Of Hard Work
There was something in the air down at Melbourne Avenue this past Saturday, an electricity and excitement, that this might be the day that the second team finally records it's first victory of the season.
The game also saw Chris Travis officially take the reigns as 2nd team manager, who looks to be excited at things to come and his new challenge.
Due to some call ups, injuries and unavailabilities, Mike Jackson took the captains armband, Daz Williamson made his home debut for the 2s and young (Possibly a Giant) Max Loboda made his second team debut.
The game had a tentative start as both sides perhaps allowed the pre-match nerves and the hype of the derby game get to them. With neither side making the breakthrough as the defensive work rate was there for both sides.
All it took for a hoppers center was a gap in the home defence to pounce through and score from distance under the posts. Conversion scored. 0-7.
Fleetwood didn't let this get to them as they went on the attack, looking for the chink in Hoppers' armour. At the breakdown, the official made a questionable penalty call against No.8 Holden. Venting his frustrations, he said some words to no one in particular, but the official took offense and sent him to the bin for 10 minutes.
Preston tried to make their numerical advantage count, but had no such luck, as Fleetwood were relentless in attack and defence. When Holden came back on, he found his team camped in the opposition 22.
After sustained forward pressure against the away try line, Callum Rocks eventually came out on top scoring, emulating his hero the 2's captain with a Foden 30cm dive special over the line. Pearce with the conversion, 7-7.
Before the break, Fleetwood got themselves up the pitch to earn a penalty. The call from the sidelines was to point to the sticks and take the 3 points. The boys ignored the pleas and elected to run at hoppers, with the only conclusion being white line fever. When this failed, Fleetwood were lucky to get another penalty in similar range. This time Pearce took the kick to score the 3 points. 10-7.
Half Time: 10-7
Manager Chris Travis gave his first half time team talk and was happy with what he was seeing. The message being keep it up and see it out.
The second half was more or less dominated by the men in Green and Gold. Only some resolute defending and confusing penalty decisions kept the score the same.
Towards the end of the half, Fleetwood were awarded a 5 metre scrum in the corner. The resulting scrum saw Fleetwood push over their opposite numbers, a running theme throughout the game, all what was needed was to control the ball and the score would be there. When No.8 Holden couldn't do that, Scrum Half O'Driscoll picked the bones to get his try and cap off a fine performance. Conversion missed 15-7.
Fleetwood smelt blood and looked to kill off their rivals. Home Debutant Daz Williamson smashed through the defensive line and looked to had scored his first try for the 2s. The official cruelly denied him for knocking on over the line. This left some of his team mates scratching their heads, as they thought that there was nothing wrong with grounding.
Preston used this as a wake up call and marched down the pitch to earn a penalty. Which their old boy No. 9 coolly slotted. 15-10.
The game ended shortly afterwards. The look of joy and relief on the lads faces was a sight to see. Weeks and Months of hard work had finally come to fruition.
Full Time: 15-10
Tries: Rocks; O'Driscoll.
As much I personally wanted to play in the game and help the lads get to their first win, it was an absolute pleasure watching the lads dig deep to grind out this victory, the drive and the camaraderie of the boys was awesome to see.
This hopefully is just the start of the resurgence of the second team and with the guidance of Chris, hopefully we can push on for a respectably position in the league.
A mention has to be given to Stephen Buzza who put a Hoppers shirt on to make up the numbers and allow the scrums to be contested.
Man of the Match
This week proved a little difficult to pick out the best player as everyone put a shift in. The front row put a shift in the scrum. Rocks and Loboda were the engine room and the back row made nuisances of themselves.
In the backs O'Driscoll and Pearce dictated the play, Macualey and Hall cut Preston into bits with their runs and the back three showed promise in attack and defence.
After discussions with Chris, we have both agreed that MOTM this week was Joe Macauley. He relished playing at 12 and made some awesome lines which cut Preston into ribbons.
The Weekly Sam Pook Report
To be fair Sam didn't have a bad game. Lineouts and scrums were solid enough. Needs less nervous banter and little more confidence on the pitch.
There is no game next week. The next game is on the 24th November at home vs Littleborough. Chris Travis will be sponsoring the game, so if you are either playing or spectating, please try and stick around for a pint or two afterwards.
With no game for three weeks, that doesn't mean that we don't have to train, please get down and get prepared for the game. Tuesdays at the club 7pm, Thursdays at Rossall School (Trainers only) 7pm.
Squad: 15. Howe; 14. Hearne; 13. Hall; 12. Macauley ; 11. Gornall; 10. Pearce; 9. O'Driscoll; 1. O'Hara; 2. Pook; 3. Jackson; 4. Loboda; 5. Rocks; 6. Jeffrey; 7. Hargreaves; 8. Holden; 16. Williamson; 17. Beavers.