North Manchester V Rosendale
Preseason warm up (4 x 20 minutes)
Brilliant sunshine for the last of the preseason warm up games as North Manchester played hosts to Rosendale. With the playing captains away, Alex Liley captained the North men, depleted by holidays, football and the good weather. After the usual Referees lecture on the new law changes North received the kick from the visitors. Quickly into their stride Rosendale piled on some early pressure, a well drilled and physical side they pushed their way to the home team’s goal line. Some confusion from the referee was taken full advantage of by Rosendale when they bundled over for a converted score.
Liley gathered his troops, reminded them of the preseason drills and soon North were back in the visitors territory. Wave after wave of pressure from the home team was only matched by the final pass being dropped or pushed forward. All the territory and all the ball was North by like the previous warm up game, they found it difficult to go over the whitewash.
The second quarter started the same as the 1st ended, North on the front foot, The coach choose to bolster the squad with some experience and it wasn’t long before “pugs” playing in his new position of back row levelled the scores with some good old fashioned straight running. Rosendale could not live with the North men in open play, but true to form North gave the visitors some hope when a second foul while playing advantage resulted in Chris Taylor being shown a yellow card. When “Gilly” protested he also went in to the book. With North down to 13 men and Rosendale camped on the home teams line, again Alex Liley organised the defence of the line time and time again until North final cleared the threat. Great defence but no more scores as the 1st half came to a close 7 all
Rosendale started the second half with a purpose, disappointed being camped on the home team’s line and coming away with nothing played open and running rugby, but this was no match for the home team. The coach was forced to some running repairs as the heat and the physicality of the game took its toll, but as usual the North men adjusted and replacement jumpers, change of front rows, half backs and three quarters didn’t put the team out of the stride. It shows that North have adaptability and strength in depth. Time after time the defence stood strong and the visitors struggled to get out of their own half. On one attack North got the turn over which released Isaac on one of his mazy runs, with the support thinking he would like up he became isolated but clear with the line in front of him. The Visitors defence somehow scrambled back and caught him but the strength and determination from the North man resulted in a converted try when he reached over the white wash to score and give the home team a deserved lead. The try of the match came shortly afterwards when a perfect throw in from iMac was plucked out the air by Isaac and dropped into the arms of Sam Donley, who thought about a show & go, but instead tied down the defender and shot a dreadful pass out to the hooker. Not another missed opportunity, no, iMac, using all his skill, juggled the ball as the crown held their breath, before calming the nerves by crossing the goal line to put clear daylight between the teams for an unconverted score to end the 3rd quarter 19-7
The 4th quarter was much of the same, but a slip in defence allowed the visitors to score to make in a nervy end to an enthralling game. The visitors were well drilled and organised but North were the better team on the day. Still some things to work on and players to come back but the players can take momentum into next week’s league games on the back of 2 heard fought and well won preseason games. Final score 19-14