Big Win vs Littleborough
Mike Penrice reports.
Wigton were never in much danger of failing to record another home win against bottom club Littleborough, recording a 46-8 win. It is fair to say that given the way in which the outcome of the game was never in doubt for most of the afternoon, this was not a performance of the highest intensity with several try scoring chances not taken and the defence being a little generous at times. However, there was a lot of entertaining attacking play and a prominent feature of recent Home games has been the ball carrying of the pack. Lindsay Walker exemplifies this. He is a player who has obviously worked very hard to improve his skill levels and now shows deceptively soft hands for a big guy.
Wigton’s first foray into Littleborough’s half drew a penalty which scrum half Dan Reed kicked for a 3-0 lead. Dan Couzens at flanker made a good early showing dropping on a loose ball from the visitors’ scrum to win possession back for Wigton. He was on hand again to take a pass from fly half David Hanabury after a typical mazy run. No 8 Greg Wrathall, again full of industry for the Greens, drove the ball deep into the 22. At the base of the maul an alert Reed spotted a shortage of defenders on the blind side and darted down, offloading to prop Elliot Armstrong for the first try and a 8-0 lead.
Littleborough found restarts with the wind something of a problem, and three times in the first half they put centre kicks straight into touch to gift possession back to Wigton. Some Wigton’s pack were handling the ball with the likes of second rows Deans and Marrs doing a lot of carrying. When the ball was moved to the back line, Richard Moffatt at outside centre ran strongly and a maul was formed round him. Taking everyone by surprise, his fellow centre Ollie Lewis smuggled the ball out of the other side of the maul and stepped out of a tackle to celebrate his return to first team action with a try. Reed’s conversion gave Wigton a comfortable 15-0 lead.
However, from the kick off Wigton were caught napping. A fumble gave Littleborough a scrum and although the Green pack made a mess of it, fly half Park put a long raking kick behind the defence for winger Lloyd to chase. As the ball sat tantalisingly in goal, he showed good pace to beat a couple of defenders to the ball and claim a try to make the score 15-5.
It was not long before Wigton conceded a penalty for a high tackle, enabling centre Whittles to narrow the gap to 15-8. This was not however the start of a Littleborough recovery and they were soon pinned deep in their own half. When a clearance kick was charged down Wigton were awarded a scrum five metres out. The dominant eight were intent on pushing the visitors over the line. That they failed to do so was only down to illegal play by Littleborough and referee Castles quickly awarded a seven point penalty try to make the score 22-5. There then followed a piece of nonsense before the restart when Reed was fouled by an opposition player, an incident not seen by the referee. However, he did notice Lewis come in to have a word with the miscreant and showed the Wigton centre a yellow card.
Despite this Wigton soon scored again when Deans bustled his way into the 22 and passed to Wrathall who showed a neat sidestep to claim the unconverted try, giving Wigton a 27-8 advantage. That lead should have been extended just before half time when Moffatt made an arcing run to within a few yards of the tryline, but his inside pass failed to make contact with a team mate.
The first try of the second half came when Hanabury received early ball form a scrum and made a break through the defensive line. Flanker Jay Henderson was there in support and Wrathall also carried to keep the move alive. The recycled ball was soon in Hanabury’s hands again and he drew defenders and then squeezed the ball out to hooker Stuart Creighton who scored. That gave the Greens a 32-8 advantage.
There were several times when Wigton players were able to win turnovers by rippin* the ball from ball carriers. One of these occasions saw the ball moved to Deans running in a wide left channel.
He escaped the clutches of several defenders and then passed to Lewis to finish off the move under the posts. Reed’s conversion pushed to score out to 39-8.
The last fifteen minutes saw the game go off the boil somewhat. Littleborough came back into the game and a string of penalties gave them some momentum. Despite several first up tackles being missed, Wigton always managed to get enough bodies into positions to draw the error and ease the pressure.
Moffatt, who week in, week out, has played with great consistency, got Wigton on the board again with a fine solo effort as he rampaged forty yards through a tiring defence to score. At 46-8 the half century beckoned, but Littleborough enjoyed a fair bit of possession and territory to frustrate them. Wigton had one chance to score a final try right at the death when Creighton deftly intercepted. His body language suggested he wasn’t up for a forty yard gallop to the sticks but when he tried to pass to one of several supporting players, he rather less deftly dropped the ball.
Wigton won comfortable today without being at their most clinical in the finishing department, but always had too much in the locker for the struggling Littleborough outfit. However, they are obviously a different proposition at home, holding a win over ourselves and draws against both Keswick and De la Salle.
Next week we are technically in the county for our away match, although a trip to Hawcoat Park in Barrow rarely feels like a local run out.