Magnificent seven for Benno's braves
Benno's boys keep on winning
For audio match report click here.
Thank the Lord for some early season losses because the MGM’s current form sees them flirting with promotion like a drunk businessman with an uninterested waitress , as the Machine today made it seven wins on the bounce, with a business-like 40 points to 8 victory away to old rivals Widnes.
And one of those wins may have been in a “friendly” with St Mary’s Old Boys but, admit it, you’d include that too if it was your team.
In truth, today wasn’t the MGM#s finest hour. Some might say that that captain Dave “Dave” Bentham’s warm weather Christmas training regime in Dubai had been too physical, too demanding, but for whatever reason, never mind making it to the races, the MGM wasn’t even on the charabanc on the way there, for the first half today.
That half was one of the least satisfying that your humble scribe has ever had the misfortune to be involved in. Flat. Quiet. Uninspired. And they were only the highlights.
And yet, through Tim Bell and Joe Spencer, when the Machine played sensible rugby, punching holes close to the breakdown, then spinning the ball to the backs, it prospered, and scored two tries.
In reply, Widnes kicked a penalty and crashed over with a try from big prop forward and skipper JP.
The first half was characterised by mutual incomprehension between the referee and both sides, summed up by the ref’s decision to blow for half time after just 30 minutes, on the basis that both captains had agreed that. When advised that neither captain had had such a conversation, the ref sportingly agreed to play out the half.
The second half kicked off (after the regulation 40 minutes) with the MGM 14 – 8 up. A more slender lead than its superiority had warranted.
The second half was an altogether better affair. The MGM determined not to leave itself at the whim of decisions out of its control and played smart, hard rugby.
Punching it up close to the breakdown and then spinning the ball wide to talented backs proved a winning formula, and the second half was won by four tries to none.
Debutant back row Mark Fairhurst scored two, driving hard from midfield. Scrum half Josh Goodall sniped over for one, from close range, and fly half Jonny Mulholland capped a near perfect afternoon with a try to go with five conversions.
Space precludes the inclusion of detailed descriptions of the tries the MGM left behind today, not least an audacious cross kick for the corner from young Josh Hollis, when running a four on one overlap may have been the better option, but suffice to say that the Machine has plenty of points in it.
It’s the mark of a good team that they can win when playing badly and the MGM certainly did that today. This is a team with a great balance of young and positively antediluvian, which has developed a taste for winning.
Next week sees them take on Ruskin Park, an impressive outfit who lie one place above the MGM, having played four games less. The Machine will have to be better than today but in their current form you’d be brave to bet against them.
Vive le Machine.