MV SLIP AND SLIDE OUT OF LANCS TROPHY
Blackburn went home with a 3 17 victory that flattered to leave MV contemplating what could have been!
Blackburn came to MacPherson Park with good recent history and with the advantage of playing regular rugby at levels higher than Trafford MV. Early signs were that Trafford were going to be in for a torrid evening as the wind and rain swept across the pitch and the Trafford pack got shunted backwards in the scrum and driven off ruck and maul ball seemingly at will by the visiting pack. A period of heavy pressure in the MV ''22'' inevitably led to a try as the young MV pack, missing key players, failed to cope with the onslaught. It was light relief as the conversion was missed and MV regrouped.
It took a while but MV earned ball from the line out and began to move the ball about the park with astute kicking from captain Ben Wheeler playing at 10. Play moved more frequently into the Blackburn half and Wheeler took his chance when a penalty option was kicked to close the lead to 3-5. As the first half wore on and the pitch muddied and cut up MV became more of a threat as the forwards came to task with the job they had to do - get those tackles in, get opposition players onto the floor and play rucking rugby staying away from the scrums and mauls at which Blackburn definitely had the upper hand. Wheeler missed a penalty attemp just before the interval which would have been just reward for MV's good finish to the half.
Both sets of players played a competitive match in good spirit and a very capable referee handled the game well and allowed as open a game as possible considering the limiting factor of the weather.
The second half scoreline of 0-12 does not by any means reflect the nature of the game - MV were for long periods camped in the Blackburn half, playing against the elements and were in a position to attempt 4 penalty shots at goal, one hitting the upright and the others not far off target, however pressure must be converted into points otherwise you are in a very vulnerable position. A kick out of defence led to a Blackburn line deep in MV territory, MV tapped a loose ball back, chaos reigned and a loose ball was pounced upon for Blackburn to score totally against the run of play. MV were gutted. Minutes later the MV defence were drawn in and Blackburn were over for another, converted, which made the difference.
MV took the game by the scruff again and tried had to get back into the fight but by now the damage had been done. Blackburn can go home proud of their win MV must lick their wounds and recover to fight again.
The MV boys can look back on this game as part of their learning - a very spirited performance, lacking in set piece possession, under pressure in second phase forward play but very good handling, defence and tactical kicking - many aspects of play much better than the higher rated opposition. This was not a day to single out a Man of the Match but a day to pat each player on the back and say Well Done - Your Turn Will Come !