First things first. The Trafford Metrovicks (TM) under 14s did the club, coaches parents and more importantly themselves proud last Sunday as they took on Preston Grasshoppers in the Lancashire Cup Final. After a season of injuries to key players TM were able to field a full strength team and the stage was set for a much anticipated game.
Vale of Lune hosted finals day and a large crowd swelled by sizeable support from TM huddled together in the downpour as the boys took to the field. It’s fair to say that the conditions and nerves got the better of the lads in the early exchanges. Preston parked themselves in the TM 22 and started to turn the screw, resolute defending kept the opposition at bay but eventually TM coughed up a kickable penalty (3-0 to Preston). The restart gave TM good field position and sticking to the game plan TM tried to get the back line moving, but the conditions and the blitz defending of Preston denied TM any time and space to exploit the Preston back line. Early on in the game and TM suffered a major blow as Ciaran Finn had to leave the field with a shoulder injury. TMs number 10 and 9 continued to work their socks off to create the break though and after some good work at the base of the ruck Rory Devereux fed Will Harrison who cleverly kicked over the blitz defence and ran though to score. Unfortunately the resulting conversion was charged down, but TM led 5- 3. And the game took on a familiar pattern and was played in the mud of midfield. Preston’s pack were starting to boss TM and gradually pinned TM back allowing them to cross for a try and they duly converted the extra points. At half time TM were trailing by 5 pts. (Preston 10 – TM 5).
There was no drying out in the second half and TM struggled to get its running game together, the conditions making handling very difficult. Preston had committed to a driving forwards game couple with some excellent kicking and this was starting to pay dividends. TM suffered another injury blow as Aaron Lewis had to leave the field with a serious looking knee injury. Very soon TM found themselves camped in their own 22 and Preston crossed the line bringing the score to 17–5. TM heads could have gone down but the boys battled on and started to keep the ball in hand. They got their rewards as they swamped a Preston lineout deep in their half and scott bowerman
who again carried the TM pack throughout the match stole the ball and powered through to score in the corner. The conditions were against Will Harrisons boot and the score stood at 17–10 in favour of Preston. Time was not on TMs side and they were again finding it hard to move the ball. Preston were able to play the game in TMs 22 for the remainder of the game and made the most of this pressure scoring the games killer try with the clock ticking down.
The final score Preston Grasshoppers 22 – Trafford Metrovicks 10 was a fair reflection on the game. Its never easy losing a game and certainly not a cup final but on reflection the result should be seen as a progression for a team and a rugby club whose junior section is the envy of our neighbours. The challenge for the under 14s coaches and players in the upcoming season is to now turn this progression and potential into silverware in 2013.