Hoylake 1st XV v Glossop
Revenge is Sweet for Hoylake
Hoylake put in a good performance to defeat league newcomers, Glossop, at Melrose Avenue who had sneaked a 1 point victory in the first meeting between the two sides earlier in the season.
Glossop are well known for having a large, rumbling pack of forwards who can win games on their own if given enough possession. As it was, Hoylake started strongly and despite having a relatively lightweight pack, set their stall out early on, aggressively attacking the Glossop rolling mauls and catch and drives.
Skipper, Steve Young gave the hosts a well-earned lead after 10 minutes when he ran in from halfway, after slick handling in the backs. He converted his own try to give Hoylake a 7-0 lead. To their credit, Glossop came straight back in typical fashion and kicked two penalties via their flyhalf.
Despite Hoylake clearly having the most dangerous set of backs, there was still the threat that Glossop’s forwards would get a stranglehold in the match. However, a moment of ill discipline from one of their second rows resulted in him receiving a straight red card and Glossop were down to 14 and more importantly 7 in the pack.
From that point, the result was never really in doubt. Second row, Tom Corkhill scored the only other try of the half when he drove over from short range. Young added the extras and Hoylake went into halftime with a 14-6 lead. It could easily have been more had Hoylake's rampant backs taken a couple of glaring chances.
Hoylake started the second half with a strong wind at their backs and Jack Lavin gave his forwards plenty of territory. Glossop managed to threaten to defend well though and had a 10 minute period when they were camped on Hoylake's line. Credit to the hosts though, who defended manfully and effectively ended Glossop's challenge.
In the end, Steve Young scored another trademark, long-range effort before his elder brother and veteran centre, Richard, latched onto a cross field kick from his younger sibling, to muscle his way between two defenders and dot the ball down. Steve Young converted this one and added a penalty to give a final score of 29-6.
Coach Gareth John would have been happy to see the defensive organisation that he has been so comprehensively coaching come to fruition, particularly as the forwards defended so aggressively against heavier opponents. Also, the backs with Jack Lavin at 10 and Steve Young at 13 starting to click. Matt McLaren is continuing to develop into an outstanding player on the wing, whilst Rich Young and Dan Baldock offer some much needed experience and grit to the back line. The inclusion of fellow veteran, Ben Flint (Pictured) at fullback added composure at the back too. Scrum half, Joe Lavin didn't make as many electric breaks as usual but made more than his fair share of tackles on the giant Glossop forwards and his service to his cousin was flawless.
Man of the Match went to James Edwards who was playing in the unfamiliar position of blindside flanker in the absence of workhorse Guy Byatt. He put in a strong, gritty yet mobile performance and was ably backed up by the rest of his forwards. Other mentions should go to Darren Agnew and Tom Corkhill. Darren has taken his time to settle into first team rugby but is now putting in some solid displays. Tom made some important steals in the lineout but more importantly made good yards as a runner. I suppose I should mention Andy Fielding too, who made a decent attempt at deputising for Hoylake's usual number 8!!
Next week, it's everybody's favourite local derby as Hoylake welcome Wirral to Melrose Avenue. Wirral will be looking to celebrate winning the league title last week with a strong performance, whereas Hoylake will be looking to show how much they have improved under Gareth John's tutelage since their mauling at the hands of the champions earlier in the season.
Not one to miss!