Ruskin Park 71 - MGM 0
Tough day at the office for Benno's brave boys
For audio match report click here.
Well, after a seven-game winning streak, expectations were high as the MGM headed to the bad lands of St Helens to take on high-flying Ruskin Park, unbeaten in ten.
Had the Machine’s brains trust dug a little deeper in its analysis, it would have realised that in ten games their hosts had scored 488 points while conceding just 31, and perhaps expectations would have been a little lower.
And so, in truth, faced with a very well-drilled first team, which for complicated reasons has clearly been placed in the wrong league, the Machine took a mighty shellacking today, without ever letting its collective head drop.
But that score line does not completely reflect the game. For significant periods of both halves Benno’s brave boys camped in their opposition’s half, hammering away at the line but did not quite manage to force their way over.
The Machine was overmatched all over the park today. Ruskin Park are a tough, effective, Rugby League inspired team, with pace and power and an excellent offloading game.
And in spite of some tigerish tackling from the MGM, when their big runners broke the defensive line with support there was little Benno’s boys could do.
That said, there are many positives to take from today. There were excellent displays all over the pitch.
Scrum half Mark Molloy rose from his sick bed and battled valiantly all game.
Joe White stood in at ten and did his damnedest to take the game to Ruskin.
Young Rory scrummaged his heart out and put himself about around the park, while Spongebob came back on and did his thing, in spite of damaged ribs, after young Tom had had to leave the field with concussion.
Out on the wing, Nat probably came closest to scoring, taking an outrageous 30 yard pass from Joe White and very nearly outpacing the very quick Ruskin right winger.
And out of position, Joe Neary was heroic in midfield, tackling everyone who came near him and launching himself again and again at the opposition line.
Thanks are due also to second team boys Dom Allen and Navy Pete who turned out and gave their all in a losing cause.
As one-sided as the scoreline was, this could have been much worse, and after the game the Ruskin captain told skipper Dave “Dave” Bentham that, apart from Prenton Academicals, this has been the most physical game they have had all season. Which is something.
In many ways, this was the perfect game to lose. With the second team conceding, the MGM would have taken no points even had it won.
And looking at the bigger picture, the Machine now sits in fifth place, comfortably mid-table, which is where it needs to be, a safe distance from the promotion places.
Beaten by a better team, but showing significant intestinal fortitude, the Machine, and particularly its younger members will learn from this and come back stronger. Your scribe was proud to play with all of his fellow green boys today.
Roll on next week and another away trip to top of the table Prenton Academicals, now thankfully shorn of their student contingent. Vive le Machine.