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2XV - Match centre

Sefton 2
Altrincham Kersal 2
Sat 3 Feb 14:15 - Halbro North West Leagues - Division 2 South Full time

Return of the Mac

Sefton home team attracts record number of players, but was it a case of too many players.

Gypsy Ged Mc is back, and all it took was a phone call. Not from Princess, he has a phobia of talking on phones, and only feels safe speaking to Campo. The Bush Fighter, of all people, used his soothing voice to ensure Ged that Buckle was no longer at the club.

--------- Princess sHambling’s State of Mind ---------
Wailing Wall category 3. Little is known what state Princess was in during the week, as he only confides with Campo, and as Campo is also his councillor he has a strict patient-doctor confidentiality. The fact that Princess keeps picking Brian Unworth though, shows his delusional state. Of course, regular as clockwork, Unworth cries-off Saturday morning. You’d have thought by now he would have realised that Brian doesn’t like him, and it is best to leave him in the bosom of Blandie’s third team.

Luckily, Jonny Orr had recovered sufficiently from his sleep deficit, and was available as long as someone picked him up. Also on the team sheet was JP Ellis, another player suffering from sleep deprivation. Fortunately we found a nice quite corner for him to lie down and have a pre-match nap.

Bolstered by the cancellation of the third team game Princess sHambling was able to pick indiscriminately from a host of third team players. Added to this were the players that hadn’t told their wives about the cancelled game, hurrying out of the house with their kit bag before they’re dragged off to Ikea. The seconds therefore had lots of subs.

Altrincham Kensal kindly agreed to let us play extra subs as part of our ‘help in the Community’ project. Thus Iron Mike didn’t have to lie to his wife about allegedly playing.

The opening play looked promising, with Sefton in possession of the ball, they worked their way up the centre of the pitch, and into the oppositions half. After several phases the momentum slowed though, and Altrincham were able to gain some possession.

First score came from a missed tackle, which left Altrincham’s centre free to accelerate away with just Campo at full-back to beat. Unsportsmanlike, the centre steps past the hapless Aussie as he implemented one of his legendary ‘air tackles’ and goes past, heading under the posts.

Sefton try again, only to be caught this time on the counter-attack, with Altrincham’s swift attacking line and support play leaving Sefton in disarray as they score out wide.

Eventually Sefton start to make progress and Jay Evans kicking was surprisingly good, managing to find touch successfully. With Ben Webster and JP Ellis helping to make sufficient ground into the oppositions half, it allowed Evans to kick for the three points when a penalty was awarded.

With points on the board, Sefton grew in confidence, and they were the more dominant pack able to drive Altrincham off their own ball in the rucks. However they were unable to capitalise on this, especially in the final third, where they had numerous chances but weren’t as clinical as Altrincham. Late on, the opposition clawed the three points back with a kick of their own.

Half time was positive, despite being behind, Sefton were still in the game, with Jay Evans making some valid points to improve our performance (possibly a captain in the making), our captain sHambling thankfully kept quiet.

Second half was tough to take, with Sefton getting close a number of times, with both Josh Fowell and Lawrence Gillen making breaks on the wing, but not having the support there to finish off. The lineout’s weren’t going to plan either, possibly due to a constant change of subs which unbalanced the side. A keen Iron Mike came on only to come off five minutes later with an injury. What was positive was the forwards work around the breakdown. Owen Collins, Jay Dempsey and Matty Cunningham were constantly jackling the ball, sometimes successful, sometimes not, but this made it hard for Altrincham to get clean ball. What Altrincham were good at though was their support play, and as long as they avoided the contact, they had some devastating finishers.

In the end, this was the difference between the two sides, with Altrincham taking their chances, and Sefton less so. With Sefton’s only score in the second half coming from a Jay Evans penalty kick, Altrincham defence proved too strong.

A final push by Sefton kept them camped on the oppositions line, with Gypsy Ged taking a number of defenders to stop him, and coming close to scoring a couple of times. A controversial decision at the end of the match left the ref scratching his head, and trying to remember his law book. As Altrincham were pushed back over the line, the ball is placed on the floor, at the base of a ruck. Lancaster comes round the outside and dives on the ball, on the understanding that there is no off-side rule once the ball has crossed the try line. In the end, although the ref agreed there is no off-side when the ball is over the try line, he gave the defending team a scrum on their five metre line. A hard one for the ref, but I still gave him a lot of grief in the bar after the match.

The last play ended with yet more frustration for Sefton, as Altrincham are given a penalty inside their twenty-two and shift the ball out wide beating Sefton’s sparse defence to go under the posts for a try.

Man of the Match was a tough one, with both Jay Dempsey and Owen Collins having excellent games in the back row, Gypsy Ged was awesome in attack, and Jonny Orr also put in a performance at scrum-half. However, Steve Hughes was deemed the best of the bunch for his defence and attack in the centres. Obviously Steve took this news in his usual euphoric way, very nearly producing a smile.

In the end the score line was cruel to Sefton who competed well in the game, against a side that are currently top of the league. After the match I was talking to their players who couldn’t understand why we were bottom of the league. A question, which has many answers.

Next week it doesn’t get any easier, though another home game, it’s against Glossop.

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Division 2 South results

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
7. Whitchurch 2 24 61
8. Didsbury Toc H 2 24 60
9. Widnes 2 24 59
10. Winnington Park 2 24 45
11. New Brighton 2 24 40
12. Sefton 2 24 40
13. Capenhurst 1 24 31

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