Northwich take control
on the up
New Brighton 12 – 47 Northwich
Northwich had high expectations of themselves following their win against Widnes the week before, and despite a number of changes in the squad the Stags delivered. The game was filled with plenty of moments to keep spectators engrossed, from red and yellow cards to huge tackles and great line breaks.
The game went pointless for the first 15 to 20 minutes with neither side able to capitalize on chances they had. It takes a skill to be able to kick between the sticks from out wide, so you can imagine the Black and Gold’s surprise when Richard Hart somehow missed a penalty in front of the sticks on the 22! Fortunately when play resumed Northwich were able to score. Passes from Hart to Antony Keller then to Ian Lamb in space gave Northwich a try under the sticks, Hart added the extras.
Not long after Northwich were on the front foot again, the ball was worked well up the field and found its way into the hands of Tom Merrick on a hard line, who brushed off 2 tackles and ran in under the sticks. Hart added again.
Northwich had their tails up and from the restart carried out some textbook rugby. The ball found debutant Sam Hudson on a crash line, a quick recycle and the ball was shipped to the backs who pulled off some brilliant offloads and fixing of players. As if his first try wasn’t impressive enough, Merrick found himself running the ball in from out wide on the home sides 10m line to put the ball down under the sticks again. Hart added the extras.
At this point Northwich could be guilty of thinking the game was won too early, and New Brighton capitalized on it well. With a number of pick and drive’s from the visitors 10m line, New Brighton eventually found themselves over the white line – showing outstanding patience and strength. The conversion was missed. Northwich should have switched on at this point however the home sides fly half had other ideas. After receiving the ball just outside his own 22 the number 10 went all the way into the try area – a brilliant solo try. The conversion was made.
At this point the Stags had their wake up call and thankfully they responded perfectly. Working the ball up the pitch into the opponents 22 where winger Ross McGrory received a nasty high tackle. Although he was instantly back on his feet, the referee had no option but to show the New Brighton player a red card. The game resumed and Hart tapped the ball and popped it to Aaron Collins on a crash line who scored just outside the posts. Hart added the extras.
The half came to an end at 28 – 12 to Northwich.
Due to a few small injuries to Shaun Burmah and Tom Merrick, Northwich were now able to get Jamie Wood and debutant Jack Owens involved – and it didn’t take them long to make an impression. 10 minutes into the second half the boys were looking for more, a brilliant line break from Tom Boardman and a kick and chase from Josh Wilkinson found the visitors in the opponents 22 where they were awarded a penalty. Hart once again tapped and passed to Jack Owens who (with his first touch of the ball) found himself crossing the try line unopposed – not a bad way to make a debut. Hart added the extras.
Again from the restart Northwich looked in control, working their way up the pitch, unfortunately this time they would not cross the line for another try, however hand bags did fly from both teams. There were a few words from the referee to the captains and then a penalty was awarded to New Brighton who cleared their lines.
Into the last 10 minutes of the game and Northwich stepped up their game once more, inside the home sides half and from the back of the scrum, Ian Lamb ran a terrific crash line that saw him break through a tackle in the 22 and run in his 2nd try. Hart added the extras.
A few end to end plays followed for the next few minutes and eventually Jamie Wood (AKA Big Jambo to the New Brighton lads) was able to make a big impact on the game. After clearing up a loose ball and carrying it up the pitch he found himself one on one with the New Brighton flanker. The hit was hard on both players as they both hit the floor however the referee awarded Northwich a penalty and showed the home side Flanker a yellow for not wrapping his arms in the tackle. The ball was put in the corner and from the lineout a few well
worked phases saw Jamie ‘Big Jambo’ Wood cross the line for a try. Hart missed the conversion (finish how you start I suppose!)
It was a fantastic effort by all the players from Northwich and it was great to have the 2 lads debut on a win.
Next week Northwich 2s are at home against Holmes Chapel who are currently having a solid run at the top part of the table. Can Northwich continue with this new confidence and secure a third win on the bounce? We will see on Saturday at 3pm.
Squad: 1. George Goodfellow 2. Fraser Dodd 3. Mike Clarke 4. Matt Purbrick 5. Ben Jones 6. Antony Keller 7. Aaron Collins 8. Shaun Burmah 9. Richard Hart 10. William Magowan 11. Ross McGrory 12. Ian Lamb 13. Tom Merrick 14. Josh Wilkinson 15. Tom Boardman 16. Sam Hudson 17. Jamie Wood 18. Jack Owens
Trys: Merrick (2), Lamb (2), Collins, Wood, Ow