Stockport turned in an impressive performance to beat visitors Northwich in a convincing 50-26 victory .
Stockport score 7 tries to go 4th in the table, with a game still in hand, but 13 man Northwich finished strongly with 2 tries in the last 10 minutes to gain a well earned bonus point.
Stockport turned in an impressive performance to beat visitors Northwich in a convincing 50-26 victory to go 4th in the table. Playing with a strong wind in the first half Stockport scored 4 converted tries and a penalty to one converted try by Northwich (31-7). The second half was a closer affair, with both Stockport and Northwich adding 3 tries and two conversions. This, despite Northwich being down to 14 due to a yellow card, then having their No 7 red carded for a head butt after 20 minutes of the second half, and finishing with only 13 as they had to go to uncontested scrums due to an injury to their prop. There were many positives for Stockport from this game, including very good scrummaging, exciting running by the backs, good support by the forwards and the 7 from 8 kicking of Liam McGovern. However matching a great first half performance in the second period still needs to be worked on.
Playing with the strong wind, Stockport pinned Northwich in their own 22 for the early exchanges and came away with a penalty by Liam McGovern on 5 minutes. From the kick off Northwich looked to be penned in but their very quick No 8 made a break through some weak Stockport tackling and their centre ran 70 metres to score an unexpected try for 3-7 after 10 minutes. Stockport then played to their strength and after several phases from a line out mauled over the line for Kieran Hibbs to get the touch down, McGovern converted to put Stockport back ahead. On 20 minutes the ball was moved left from a scrum on the Northwich 22 and full back Rhodri Mayor came into the line and stepped around the tacklers to score to make it 17-7. Northwich were aiming to play a fast paced game with continuity as they played against the strong wind but Stockport mounted a good attack, McGovern put in a chip ahead and the Northwich full back was forced to carry over his line. From the ensuing scrum Stockport controlled well and No 8 Nic Smith got the touch down, McGovern maintained his record for 24-7. Several minutes into injury time at the end of the half, a drive from a line out resulted in a yellow card for the Northwich No. 6. Opting for the scrum in front of the posts the controls was again good in the drive and Smith got his second. McGovern finished the half with 4 out of 4 for 31-7.
Northwich started the second half positively, Mayor needling to put in a good cover tackle as the visitors wing looked to be clear. After some good defending on their line Stockport conceded a scrum and Northwich picked up and scored from the scrum, the conversion was added for 31-14. With Northwich starting to look dangerous things could have got very close but their No 7 saw red after a head butt and they had to play the last quarter with only 14 men. A 15 metre drive by the Stockport forwards was followed by quick passage of the ball along the backs for wing Richard Sackville-West to touch down in the corner, this time there was no conversion to make it 36-14 on 60 minutes. Replacement scrum half Dudley Southern went blind from a ruck and Sackville-West made ground before passing inside to Southern, who ran 30 metres to touch down, McGovern converted from wide out against the wind for 43-14. More good running by the backs and quick re-cycling by the forwards created a ruck on the Northwich 22 and Southern went blind again and ran in for his second, McGovern added the 2 points to take Stockport to 50. Despite having only 13 players Northwich finished well scoring 2 tries in the last 10 minutes to gain a well earned bonus point at 50-26.
Next week is a local derby away against Burnage, kick off 3-00.