Top of the table clash, of sorts!
Good food, good friends, good wine, shame about the rugby
Heaton Moor welcomed Trafford MV to Green Lane for what was to be a top of the table clash in the newly formed Lancashire Premier Division.
The game was preceded by another excellent, well attended but very, very well lubricated Presidents lunch. After a fine meal and no shortage of Pinotage input the President gave a fine pre match address of the fayre on offer from the Moor boys in the campaign so far and that any further Saturday spent away from Green Lane would be a day wasted!
Pre match talk may have been of a top of the table clash however a quick look at the Moor team sheet certainly gave the impression that the team starting the game were missing a few first choice starters which aided and abetted by Freshers week cleaning MV out of their entire student population it was clear that both sides were well below the strength that had seen them both unbeaten since the start of the season.
The game kicked off with Moor quickly on the attack and after only 4 minutes full back Matt Hughes opened the scoring after he was the beneficiary of good work from No 8 Ben Jones who released Hughes down the right whose pace was too much for the cover where he dotted down to the right of the posts leaving a simple conversion for Skipper Danny child who made a complete balls of the conversion to leave Moor only 5 points to the good in an early display of philanthropy which was going to be the hall mark of the day for Moor.
The home side continued to press MV in the opening 15 minutes and were looking good value for their lead with the effervescent Tom Ireland winning a succession of turnovers which was starving the MV backs of any opportunities of their own. As the half progressed MV started to garner some position and territory and on 18 minutes scored their first try of the day from a quick tap penalty close to the Moor line that was converted. The second try for the visitors followed quickly after some lamentable tackling allowed the MV left wing to glide home in the corner with an excellent conversion attempt drifting just to the right of the post.
After a fairly bright opening the game now drifted in to a turgid lacklustre affair which I can only compare to being stuck at the bar with Buckers without anyone else to talk to! You know it should be an enjoyable experience ( we all love Buggies but one on one with him?? ) it simply felt like hard work watching it!
With the half drawing to a close Moor were awarded a penalty just outside the 22 , bang in front when Danny Child made his second serious error of the afternoon when he turned down a certain 3 points and opted to kick for the corner. From the ensuing line out Hooker Buckers then hit double top ( Pacey) who upon being brought to earth was pushed forward where Tommy Ireland did the honours putting the ball down over the MV line with Danny then slotting the conversion from the touchline for a priceless 7 points that had all of the old boys salivating!
The only worry was that Tommy had managed to get the ball away from Ben Jones at the back of the maul which surely could only mean Jonesy is either ill or injured!
With Moor now back in the game MV were awarded a scrum from the restart which saw the MV No 8 break clear before releasing his inside centre who went the length of the field for a bizarre looking try that saw MV go in to the break 19-12 up.
Unfortunately for Moor Ben Jones had to leave the field at half time which was further compounded by the loss of centre Chris Ogden Smith. Things then went from bad to worse with the first line out of the second half which saw more poor defending from the home side as one of the MV forwards peeled off the maul to score almost unopposed in the corner.
The one glimmer of hope for Moor was the entry of scrum half Mike Ingham in to the game who immediately provided a cutting edge from the breakdown and from one such sortie he found Matt Hughes who in turn fed the inappropriately named Will Pacey who actually showed a slight modicum of well… not exactly speed, more of a kind of a hurry up kind of scuttle as he gleefully scored under the posts to start his repayment plan on his debt to society which brought a purr from the well oiled Pres and his gang of veteran Allickadoos who at this stage of the afternoon had ever missed a tackle in their lives or had ever dropped a scoring pass! Even I have to admit the longer I'm retired the better I was!
Just as you think this is it, we’re back in when another sharp break from Ingham looked like he was going to go the length of the field only for the inside pass to the support runner to be gleefully pouched by the razor sharp MV winger who raced away to put the first nail in the proverbial Moor coffin.
Full credit to the Moor boys who simply refused to give up and immediately went back at MV and looked to have pulled a try back after centre Kingsley Child broke through the MV line and with the line at his mercy spilled the ball to allow the visitors a let off.
Moor did then pull a score back after David Adebo fielded a clearance kick and set off on a scintillating run before feeding Tom Ireland who barged over to keep Moor’s faint hopes alive only for MV to immediately re -extend their lead with a another 7 pointer after MV won a scrum from a knock inside the Moor 22 that took the scoreline to 26-38.
With game now deep in injury time Moor left wing David Adebo who up to this point had only touched the ball from the kick he fielded to set up the previous try was fed his first pass of the game where he simply then lit the afterburners to carve a swathe through the MV line to score under the posts for 7 points to secure Moor two bonus points.
Well done to MV who were good value for their win solely down to the fact they made far less mistakes than the home side and trust me MV will be disappointed with the performance but who cares when you bag 5 precious points.
Despite the well oiled, well intentioned critique from the old boys the Moor players gave their all today and it was certainly no lack of effort that caused them to lose just simple facts of rugby life at this level, too many changes going in to the game, too many injuries during the game and the loss of your key ball carriers was simply too much to overcome.
Despite the loss there were some excellent performances, Matt Hughes looked sharp and if we ever actually got the ball to David Adebo he will carve teams up. Replacement scrum half Mike Ingham again made an impressive impact coming off the bench but MOM has to go to Mr Consistency Tom Ireland who’s industry and turnover count saw him prove a real threat to the visitors possession anytime they took it in to contact.
Last but not least if anyone has seen the President could they please get him home!