Stockport finish their season on a high at Headlands
A 5th placed finished in a league of 1st and 2nd teams a great season for Stockport 3’s
Stockport 3’s welcomed Dukinfield to Headlands Road for the final game of the season which gave the home side to end on a high and consolidate 5th place in the league which would constitute a brilliant result across the season.
With no game for Dukinfield 1st XV, the home side knew that it would be a much changed opposition on whom they posted 40 points earlier in the season and so it showed from the start as the away team piled into Stockport using their big forwards, particularly their hard (and young) ball carrying No.8. All season the Stockport rallying cry has been about defending as a team and as Dukinfield had most of the play and the ball for the first 25 minutes it was a telling sign for the home team’s defence that they were only 5-0 down heading towards half time. A slightly misjudged kick out of defence from Dukinfield saw Stockport wing Connor Osbaldiston collect the ball, step in and out of 2 tackles and set off along the pitch, drawing a defender and off loading to centre Joe Mwangi who managed to turn 2 players inside out before crashing over for a try converted by full back Lee Percival who also added a penalty to give Stockport a 10-5 lead. Moment of
the match (and quite possibly the season followed) as veteran prop Andy Hunt found himself hugging the touch line and underneath a huge clearance kick. Having comfortably collected the ball he set off on a trundle as the defence swarmed upon him. An inside pass was the easy option but Hunt threw the most audacious dummy leaving a red faced Dukinfield player to be berated by his own team mates which brought the half to a close.
Into the second half and more spectacular defending prevented wave after wave of Dukinfield attacks but still no change to the score line. Stockport then took a foothold in the game through their powerful scrum and excellent line out work, most notably from flanker Tom Mountley who soared like a salmon all day making both of his hookers look like they could throw. A kick deep into the Dukinfield half saw it collected by one of their players who according to touchjudge Paul Jackson stepped into touch, an accusation which was refuted by the home team but who argued so much that Jacko retaliated and drew a penalty from the ref. A kick to touch led to more pressure and eventually the ball was released through the backs where neat interplay saw Mwangi over for his 2nd try with replacement full back Nathan Ludlaim banging over an excellent touch line conversion giving the home side a 17-5 lead going into the final 10 minutes. The game then petered out and finally ended early when the Dukinfield No.8 suffered a nasty knee injury which prompted the ref to end the game, giving Stockport the win.
A great performance to end the season on a high at home built on solid team defence sprinkled with a few moments of individual magic