Second Win of the Day
Another really good game in good spirit against West Park
I always enjoy playing West Park, they’re a good side with some powerful ball runners upfront and a wonderful counter attacking fullback named Adam, and they’re also a really pleasant group of lads and coaches. Last time we played them, in the cup in December, we didn't perform to our usual standards, had numerous players missing and had a poor attitude. Todays game, however, we showed up and did the job….
Forwards-Matthew, Jay K, Ellis, Ali, Kostas, Alex, Anthony, Joel H, Arris
Backs-Tom W, Dan, Sam, Tom K, Ruban, Jay P, Callum, Kealan
The loss of Mikey, who would have slotted in at outside centre this game, meant we had to shuffle things round. To add to our woes we lost Dan very early in the first half after he’d made a crunching tackle, meaning we’d lost 2/3’s of our starting midfield. Nether the less we went about our business well, staying in the arm wrestle against a big, aggressive West Park forward pack. Ellis, Kostas and Ali were really aggressive and in the faces of their forwards, Tom W tackled really well and Sam made some big hits. After great tackles by Kostas, Jay P and Ruban, a massive hit by Sam made their player spill the ball, Ellis scooped it up brilliantly and barnstormed his way down the pitch and right up to the try line, it took about five defenders to stop him grounding the ball, but Jay K ripped it from the maul and spun off his marker to ground it and open the scoring with his first try for Sefton. Sam, Arris, Kostas and Matthew took the game to West Park with some strong runs, Jay P and Ruban never put a foot wrong out wide and Callum was having a good game in both attack and defence. Our midfield now consisted of Sam at 10 and Tom K and Kostas in the centres, and whilst they were creative, especially the former two, our execution on the final pass wasn’t quite there meaning the wingers never quite got their chance to grab a try despite the good intent our play. Our defence however was near faultless in the first half, and great tackling by Arris, Kostas, Joel and Ali forced a knock on. From the scrum, Tom W picked out Tom K, who brilliantly burst through their two centres and then attacked the fullback, who tripped him with an ankle tap, but he wasn’t held, so he got back up and outpaced the cover defence to score a brilliant try and double our lead. We could have had more before half time, but we didn't make the most of our dominance with silly forward passes and knock ons killing certain tries.
In the second half West Park really started to come in to it with their forwards punching more holes around the ruck. Out wide Jay P and Ruban were solid, as was Kealan after his introduction. Ellis and Ali won lots of turnover ball for us either at the ruck or with rips, but we didn’t create as much with the exception of a brilliant run by Tom W that got us into their half. Alex’s ball carrying was really good today, as was Joel’s, and Antony’s work in the loose was impressive. There was a great run and pass from Ali too which looked dangerous but West Park defended well. We elected to kick clear, but did the exact thing I’d warned us not to, kick it high to their fullback Adam and give him time and space on the ball, and he did exactly what I’d feared, exploiting the lack of a good chase to round the defence and score a really good try. A great kick by Sam pinned them in their territory and Matthew, Kealan, Tom W and Jay K all made some great tackles, and Ellis made a crunching hit on their big prop when he ran it in. Their fly half kicked clear, and after a few phases of good play by our forwards, Tom K made a great break after good hands by Tom W and Sam, but again the final pass let us down and we squandered the chance. They were dominating possession but our aggressive defence was doing the trick to keep them out, with Kealan, Sam and Matthew doing well and one particularly great (unfortunately, high) effort by Ali to crunch the dangerous Adam typified our defensive effort. West Park dominated the last of the game, we completed our tackles but they were managing to get over the gain line and were in our territory. Jay P, Tom K, Callum and Kostas made some good tackles and then great pressure by Jay K, Ruban and Ellis gave Anthony the chance win the turnover and we kicked clear to seal the game at 2-1.
A real game of two halves as we dominated the first and could easily have scored five but almost succumb to the West Park pressure in the second, though it is to our credit that we didn’t, especially after losing two players of Mikey and Dan’s calibre as well. We kept our heads and did our jobs well. Thanks to West Park for the game, I’d think some mutual respect has developed between our lads after this hard fought encounter played in good spirit. Man of the Match was tough, Tom K was magic, Jay P and Ruban put in disciplined performances out wide, Ali had a stormer and Tom W impressed at 9, but for me it’s Ellis, who won us loads of turnovers, carried had, tackled aggressively and was instrumental on our first try. Good job today boys!