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2XV - Match centre

Widnes 2
Sefton 2
Sat 2 Dec 14:15 - Halbro North West Leagues - Division 2 South Full time

sHambling in Need

As we enter the Christmas period, Sefton takes the time to think about the more misfortunate in the club.

Hands were washed in the second team, as sHambling disconnected, claiming up and coming knee surgery would seriously hamper his organisation skills. Now I’m no doctor, but I don’t think the knee effects the ability of the finger pressing, phone action. Maybe it is a co-ordination thing. Despite this very poor excuse he was eager to pass over the baton, denouncing all responsibility, claiming he’d be back in……..(mumbling something under his breath). I just hope he never has kids, with his swiftness to deny responsibility, I suspect social services would be heavily involved.

------Princess sHambling’s State of Mind-------
Last week I thought it was the end, with a Wailing Wall category 9. He was on the edge, reportedly on the bathroom floor, in a cold sweat, curled up, and shaking in the corner. Luckily the game was cancelled and sHambling was given a lifeline. However, help is needed, so much so, that Campo and Bland have stepped in and created ‘sHambling in Need’ to make people aware of his vulnerability. Ed Sheeran could do an appeal, and we could get Bob Geldof and Bono to do a charity record.

On Tuesday selection, I had an invincible side, full of talent and flair. We had only just completed that process, when Grant Leary pulled out. His excuse was something about an award ceremony. At first I thought it was one of his crazy golf awards, which is quite absurd, because Leary has never won anything in his life, (even when he was boxing, his nickname was ‘the punch bag’). However, it turned out it was his more talented son that was getting the accolades. Like many of Sefton’s failed players, living off their son's glory.

Stuart Bailey, what can I say. I feel there should be a special section in this report, milking off his once talented, but very short rugby career. It was like a Christmas Carol, three times I had warnings of his inability to turn up. I didn’t adhere to Matt Bland’s remarks that he was willing to bet one of his children on him not showing up. Now if he had put his house on it, I might of listened, after all, he has three kids, if they’re anything like mine, he’d be glad to get rid of one.
The second warning came when I phoned him up, and he wasn’t even in the country, but assured me he ‘should’ be back in time for Saturday. He just needed to acquire a child minder (third warning). No wonder the thirds were keen to pass him on.

This keenness to pass their troubled players onto the seconds, backfired on them, because after the first team took their quota, (not bothering to find out if players were available), the seconds were three short. Leaving me with the despicable job of pleading with Campo. However, I refused to give him another back rub in exchange for some reliable players.

Blind Steve was drafted in, although when phoned up on Saturday morning he had no idea he was playing for anyone. My first order of business on Monday is to buy Steve one of those sight impaired phones with the massive screens, so he can read his messages.

Henry Simpson-Lucas (the 3rd) and Steve Downing were also prised from Campo, who was uncharacteristically generous. I fear that the bang on the head he suffered the other week has affected him more than we thought. We even managed to off-load the late arriving Jim Barlow onto the thirds in exchange, (does he not know yet, we are only interested in his talented son).

On leaving Sefton, Downing’s one job was to look after the water bottles. However, when we got to Widnes and asked him where they were, he informed us he’d put them in the back of Henry III’s car. What, the car he left back at Sefton?

Despite this shambles of organisation (what made me think of giving Downing any sort of responsibility), we managed to get fifteen players to make the long trip to Widnes. Led out by captain for the day, Owen Devlin, hoping to keep his 100% winning captain record (1 win from 1).

Most of the players were looking forward to Simon ‘wood chip’ Buckle playing for the opposition, however they were disappointed in seeing him on the subs bench. Why exactly Simon left Sefton is cloudy, as you know I’m not one to spread rumours, but rumour has it, his relationship with one of the players from the ladies team went sour, and she told him to never come back. If only we knew it was that simple, we could of told him years ago.

An added bonus was an old fella called Clive (yes, I was tempted to shout “left turn Clive), who as part of the Widnes contingent was unable to get a game for them. Now at 62, you would think he was well past his prime (he knew Paul Devlin, that’s how old he was), but we at Sefton have no prejudice, after all we allow Richie Lloyd to wander around the pitch in his dementia state, till the people in the care home come looking for him. So we welcomed him with open arms, which was lucky because Steve Downing only lasted ten minutes before he hobbled of claiming he’d over extended his upper leg, causing a fibre tear in his interior adductor magnus, resulting in massive inflammation of the surrounding tissues (he’d pulled a muscle).

After soaking up the pressure for ten minutes Sefton started to break out of their half. Sefton’s backs showed early signs of their counter-attacking ability and were only stopped by a scrambling back opposition defence. The break finally came from a strong breaking run by Owen Devlin, who off-loading to Lancaster, before passing through Bobby Cook’s and Blind Steve’s hands, ending up with Josh Fowell beating his opposite winger, and going over for a try.

Sefton allow Widnes back in when they started a driving maul from a lineout on Sefton’s five metre line. The big pack rumbled forward and they managed to twist and turn their way over the line.

Sefton had a clear advantage in the scrum winning all their own ball and plenty of the oppositions. The lineout’s were also bringing a lot of success, with Paddy Walsh collecting Sefton’s ball in the air, and disrupting a lot of theirs.

Sefton pushed their way up into Widnes’ twenty-two and the forwards took it in turns carrying the ball forward. Ten metres out and Ciaran Fairclough kicks the ball through, and is first to the ball to ground it for a try.
Misfortune hit Sefton again as Sefton make a promising break out of their twenty-two. The ball is passed wide on the counter-attack only for it to be spilled, Widnes quickly pick up the loose ball and have an easy run in to score a try.

The half time team talk was missing something, I don’t know what it was but I had the urge to tell everyone to ‘fan out in defence’.

The second half didn’t start well, with Widnes getting two converted tries, both from crash balls through the centres and under the posts.

The lapse of concentration had cost Sefton dearly and know they had to work hard to claw it back. The forwards were dominant and this allowed the backs plenty of chances to run with the ball, however it rarely got out to the wing where Sefton have lately been so devastating. The few chances that Laurence Gillen did get, showed he was a threat whenever he got the ball. Cutting through Widnes’ defence and nearly creating a try, if only he could pass properly, it could have been a glorious try.

The break finally came from a stolen ball, and a quick ball out to Owen Devlin who raced half the pitch to score on the right. Unfortunately, missing the conversion meant Sefton were still two scores behind.

Sefton pushed hard to get another score, and were strong on the counter-attack, including a superb catch by Jack Walsh at fullback, with the opposition bearing down on him. Though Sefton finished the strongest, they still couldn’t prevent Widnes from getting through in the corner for another try against the run of play. The tackles going in high allowed the opposition to make more ground than was warranted.

Owen Devlin wanted to give ‘Man of the Match’ to everyone, admittedly there was some fine performances, from Mainwaring in the scrums, and Dempsey stealing ball, to Fairclough’s skill at scrum half, but I just think he wanted to give it to himself. In the end he adhered and Laurence Gillen was given it for another superb attacking display.

Another missed chance for Sefton to get some valuable needed points, in a season that so far hasn’t been kind to them. Next week it doesn’t get any easier, as the seconds play host to Glossop who always bring a strong side.

------A-Z of Chocky and Growler’s Ailments-----
With no games over the last two weeks, Chocky has taken the initiative and started to invent illnesses of his own. His ‘suspected’ meningitis was a brave call by the hypochondriac, for a start I’ve only got up to ‘D’ in my alphabet of ailments, he is going off list. As Pistol Pete pointed out you can put ‘suspected’ in front of anything to make it legitimate. Pistol Pete claiming he had a suspected broken leg last week, but it turned out to be just a bruise. His meningitis was long forgotten by this week though, a knee injury was his preferred cause of his latest inability to play.

-----Other News-----

Once again we lose someone from our rugby family, with Sean Keegan passing away recently. Our thoughts go out to Jay and his family.

The U15’s race night is on this Friday at the club, I suspect I will not have a team by Saturday morning due to a mystery bug going around.

I’m off now to purchase that large screen phone for Blind Steve, and then doing some carol singing in aid of sHambling in Need. Do they know it’s Princess?

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Division 2 South results

Glossop 2
56
3

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# Team Pl Pts
7. Chester 3 10 26
8. Whitchurch 2 11 23
9. New Brighton 2 11 23
10. Didsbury Toc H 2 7 19
11. Capenhurst 1 9 15
12. Sefton 2 10 14
13. Winnington Park 2 10 13

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