Waterloo take the spoils in local derby
A freezing cold morning but plenty of hot action on the pitch
With important school games, players focusing on county action and the first six nations weekend of the year all demanding attention, this game crept up on your correspondent. Suddenly it was a case of "Hey up, its derby day!" ...and despite the friendly status of this fixture we all know what it means to face local rivals. My elder son also played junior rugby for 'Loo, sadly his team were slightly shorter in number than this U16 team whilst Southport were very strong and the solitary friendly win 'Loo secured (set against a host of losses) is still remembered fondly.
So all involved should have been fired up and ready to go but it was a degenerate bunch that poked their noses out of the changing rooms, sniffing the cold air before ambling slowly towards the pitch, hands warmly stored in that special pocket 16 year-old boys have in the front of their shorts whilst coach Hopwood exhorted them to consider breaking into a jog.
Thankfully once the action was underway the competitive nature of the fixture revealed itself. It was a feisty start with several knock-on's before 'Loo secured line out ball on the Southport five metre line. Southport chose not to contest what would have been a maul and Josh Doyle took full advantage and went over, taking care not to create a situation of 'accidental offside'.
Next up the forwards applied pressure on the left before the ball was released and went through the hands for Alfie Shea to dart over on the right, somewhat to the consternation of the visitors line who suggested rather industrially that the ball hadn't been grounded. I certainly couldn't see from 70 yards away...I credited a try to a player who wasn't even there the other week!
Into the second half and Josh was at it again, this time breaking the line and going over from 20 yards out before a break by Alfie and gritty work by the forwards resulted in the fourth try for Liam Doherty.
With pace to burn out wide a central scrum under the posts was always going to be a dangerous position for Southport to defend and so it was, with the ball shipped wide to full back Joe Stuart who had joined the line and plunged over before William Loughnane did the same on the left after a break by Rhys.
The combatitive nature of the match started to take its toll and bodies were strewn across the pitch. George looked stricken with a serious injury, a kindly Southport boy sought to help him but was rightly shooed away by his own coaches as play went on, Josh trotted over to see if he could put his physio skills to use but in a flash George was on his feet, received the ball and nearly scored before Zak finally finished off the move.
And that was that, something of a scrappy game but great to play on a quality pitch when so many games were called off and good to catch up familiar faces from within the Southport team and support.
Final score 37-0.