Moor played away at Orrell last Saturday for the second time in five weeks
Moor played away at Orrell last Saturday for the second time in five weeks, but this time in a league match and hoping to improve upon their performance and narrow victory that they managed in their previous visit – the quarter-final of the Lancashire Plate competition. The outlook didn’t look promising, as the pitch was extremely wet and heavy, with frequent squalls of rain prior to kick-off – a situation that wasn’t going to favour Moor’s open style of rugby and one that would probably mean an error-strewn game, dominated by forward play. And so it proved, with Moor’s forwards proving to be the difference.
The home side kicked off down the slope and immediately the visitors took control and proceeded to work their back up field via a series of rucks and mauls which resulted in Orrell being penalised in front of their own sticks after only a few minutes, from where Moor took the lead courtesy of a penalty kick from the boot of fullback Ollie Reynolds. Moor continued to control possession, but not position, for the rest of the half, as play was confined mainly to an area between their 10-metre and 22-metre lines. Solid defensive work by the opposition, coupled with repeated handling errors in the soggy conditions, prevented any real progress and only occasionally did they threaten to increase their lead – just another speculative penalty kick from some 40 metres out that drifted wide was all that Moor had to show for their efforts.
Fortunately, Orrell themselves did not pose too much of a threat, with Moor dominating the forward set pieces and their backs able to stem whatever threats were posed by the opposition’s lively backs. It was the visitor’s own error that set up the only score of the game for the home side, when Moor missed a kick to touch from one of the numerous penalties that they were awarded and it was returned at pace, making inroads into their 22. Following a number of pick and drives, Orrell squeezed over to score an unconverted try, in what was one of their few threatening attacks before the break. Shortly after this, the opposition lost a man to the sin-bin for the remainder of the half, but Moor were unable to take advantage of this and the interval was reached with a 5-3 lead for the home side.
From the restart, Moor continued to have the edge, with the majority of the action taking place in the same area of the field as the first half, meaning that the visitors now had a territorial advantage as well. After only a few minutes, Moor re-took the lead when a penalty kick to touch gave them a lineout, from where they set up a rolling maul, resulting in a try for flanker Bryn Jones. Further pressure from Moor midway through the half enabled their forwards to set up a number of drives as they advanced on the opposition’s line and having repeatedly sucked in the cover, the ball was then released down their back line for centre Perkins Joseph to cross for a second try, converted by Reynolds.
From then on, play became disjointed as both sides had difficulty controlling the slippery ball and footing was lost on more than one occasion, resulting in yet more scrums. This was to Moor’s advantage, however, as they continued to pressurise the Orrell forwards, denying them any clean and controlled ball to their backs.
With only 10 minutes left, it was Moor’s turn to have a player yellow-carded and although the home side did end up pressurising the visitor’s line in the closing minutes, Moor held out to win 15-5, which was well-deserved given the control they maintained over the whole game in the conditions. It did mean, however, that this was the first win of the season where they did not collect a try-bonus point, but nonetheless maintains their top-three position in the division.
Next Saturday, Moor host Wigan at Green Lane, k.o. 2:15 p.m.