Closer Game Than the Scoreline Suggests
Tough game against Southport
We welcomed Southport to Sefton today for what promised to be a great match. They had a large squad, both in numbers and in size, so it was going to be a tough game physically for us.
Forwards-Joel, Anthony, Ellis, Ali, Kostas, Charlie, Matthew
Backs-Will, Dan, Sam, Mikey, Jay, Jake, Callum, Tom K, Kealan, Kian
We started well enough with Will, moved from the back row to scrum half with Tom W out injured, getting quick ball to the backs. From a scrum in the Southport 22 the backs worked a well orchestrated set move but we knocked on and it came to nothing. Against a resolute Southport defence our forwards did well to gain the hard yards as Ellis, Kostas, and Joel crashed it up, with Ali first to every ruck. After more defence we eventually opened the scoring through Sam who scored a good solo try after good work by Jake and Kostas out wide. We defended well against a big, strong Southport side, with Ellis, Anthony and Mikey all making some big tackles. Great defensive pressure won us the ball back and after slick hands from Dan, Jay, and Sam, Mikey hit a super line and muscled his way way over to score. Southport worked hard to try and gain territory through their powerful forwards but our pack matched them well and eventually we won a scrum ten meters from their line. A well worked move by the backs saw Mikey power over for his second try following a lovely inside pass by Sam. Southport had some really great players in their side, with their number 17, number 20 and number 2 all standing out. A good kick by their scrum half saw us turned around and in our own half. Unfortunately for them, they kicked it right to Callum at fullback, who smashed through the first two defenders that attempted to make a tackle, weaved in and out of another couple and then ran right over the top of the last man to score a brilliant solo try. Our pack were really impressive in the first quarter, Ali and Joel worked their socks off and Anthony and Kostas were carrying the ball well. We finished the quarter with another great try, Will, Jay, Dan and`Callum worked the ball right and Ellis brilliantly scooped it up from round his ankles before steamrolling one of the biggest lads in the Southport side and smashing through another two defenders to go over for a superb score. Southport had one last attack before the break, with Jake, Jay, Ali, Callum and Sam all making good tackles.
After a brilliant first quarter, we didn’t get going at all in the second. Southport bagged an early try, after great work by their forwards their powerful number 20, who was a threat all game, crashed over to pull one back for them. Tom had a good run from fullback and Sam had some dangerous moments too. Will, Matthew, Charle and Joel all put in some hard graft but to little avail. We refused to go low on their big runners and their half backs ran the show. There were a couple of good tackles by Dan and Kostas but we let them run through to easily and soon after they scored a second try. Mikey, Kealan, Charlie, Jay and Ali looked to run the ball back and Joel rucked well but Southport’s defence held. Our brightest moment of the quarter came after good play by Charlie, Sam and Kealan allowed the just reintroduced Callum to make a good break but they managed to shut us out.
The lads responded well to mine and Ste’s words well in the third quarter and straight away Mikey put a massive shot on their biggest most powerful runner. Matthew, Ellis and Ali all rucked well and Anthony carried hard. Debutant Kian on the wing settled into the game with some good tackles and runs, backed up by the ever brilliant Callum who was back at fullback, with Tom shifted wide. It was Tom who bagged our next try, after great hands by Will, Dan and Sam, he crashed through numerous tackles and outpaced the cover defence to score a good try. We worked hard to break down Southport’s strong defence through good carries by Ellis, Anthony, Ali and Charlie, then a brilliant run through numerous defenders followed by a great offload by Kostas helped create space down down the right, Tom picked out Callum, who dummied and stepped, attacked the space on the right and floated a great pass over to Sam, who soared through the air and claimed the ball before wrestling his way over for a try. Let it be noted that he nicked a debut try from Kian who was in a great support position!
We stepped up a little in the last quarter, and after good carries by Joel, Matthew, and Kostas laid a platform, Kian did eventually get his debut try as he fought his way over in the corner when Jay fed him the ball. Kealan was great with ball in hand running at the defence with conviction, and Callum was brilliant in both attack and defence. Another player having a great game was Will, now back in the forwards, he was always in the thick things and was making some great decisions with ball in hand. Charlie, Jake, Kian, Tom, Dan and Sam all made good tackles, Ellis was superb and Kostas was disrupting their attack time after time with some tenacious work. Matthew and Anthony tackled well, and when Southport were camped on our line, it took a huge shot by the typically physical Mikey and an even bigger one by little Callum, the smallest lad on the pitch, to keep them out. Dan and Sam kicked well and hard work by Tom and Kealan won us the ball back in a dangerous position. We won a scrum, and another back line move resulted in Mikey powering through to seal his hat-trick, another great display from him today. Kealan had been brilliant since he came back on, and deservedly got his name on the scoresheet when he pounced on a loose ball, side stepped a defender and outpaced the cover down the wing to get himself a try. Ellis and Kostas, who both had great games, put in some big tackles to help us see out the the game before Kealan kicked it in to touch to wrap it up.
For the most part a solid showing today. The second quarter aside we played really well, we just need to keep our cool when under pressure and defend more aggressively. Man of the Match was a close one yet again today. Mikey, Sam, Ellis, Will, Kealan and Kostas were all great and deserve mentions, but my pick is Callum who was brilliant in defence and scored a brilliant try. Also well done to Kian on a strong debut showing including a try! Well played to Southport, we look forward to a return fixture.