MANCHESTER 87 PENRITH 39
ANOTHER POOR DAY ON THE ROAD
Penrith have had some poor away performances but this one really took the biscuit, the first 40 minutes at Manchester were appalling. It is hard to understand how a side can play for 80 minutes against a side as good as Carlisle and have their line crossed only twice to then, next time out, face a side as ordinary as Manchester and concede eight tries in 40 minutes. At half time the home side led 59-8 and had the game in the bag before the half hour mark as they scored at will.
Manchester were certainly big and strong but they were also pedestrian, unfit and lacking any real pace. They were able to stay on their feet in contact and play the ball off and this was a constant threat to Penrith whose defence and tackling lacked the intensity to combat the host's big men.
Manchester scored a try after three minutes following a penalty kicked to the corner, the visitors had a bit of possession and following a Ross Jackson
break hit back with a Nathan Wooff
penalty. Penrith then conceded an interception try and then a penalty for offside head on to the posts on the 22.
It went from bad to worse as they conceded four tries in fifteen minutes to trail 45-3 on the half hour. They had a brief revival after the introduction of Ryan Johnson
from the bench who was making his first appearance of the season. He was heavily involved as the visitors got up a head of steam and got into the home 22. They were awarded a penalty which was quickly taken by Bruce Spencer
and after a couple of drives Craig Price
forced his way over for a try.
They then conceded a try after getting a pass intercepted, they did recover and get the ball back only to throw another interception pass to gift the try. On the stroke of half time two offloads out of contact by the home backs saw them trundle in for their eighth try.
The second half was rather better but Penrith conceded another try early on when the ball squirted out of a their set scrum on their own line. They then got on the scoresheet again when a poor clearance kick and chase allowed Olly May to show his pace and grab the try. Ed Swale
's quick thinking added another when he tapped and went from a penalty, he exchanged passes with Mike Raine
before going in under the posts.
Manchester then scored another following a penalty kicked deep into the Penrith 22 and then scored two tries directly from the next two restarts which put them way out of sight. The home side were always going to run out of steam which they did in the last quarter but they had put the game well and truly to bed before they ran out of puff.
The only thing left in the game for Penrith was to score another try for a bonus point which they managed against the flagging home side. Dan Richardson was able to force his way over, May added a second and James Reynolds
went under the posts in the final play of the game to add a hint of respectability.
Credit must be given to the home place kicking, not all the tries were scored under the posts but all 12 tries were successfully converted along with a penalty for a 100% 13 out of 13 performance.
Penrith started the afternoon only seven points off second place and it shows the closeness and competitiveness of this league this season that even after this performance they are still only eight points off second. Perhaps more importantly they started six points off a relegation place and that is now down to three points making the home game against Waterloo vital.