FLEETWOOD 26pts V WINNINGTON PARK 26pts
By David Woodcock
Bambi Retires and a Thumper sees Red.
Paul Bamber was applauded onto the pitch for his final game in Fleetwood’s colours after a career spanning 26 seasons. He first played as a 12-year-old junior and has been a one club man.
The game started in cold blustery conditions with more than a little rain in the air. Early in the first half the Winnington prop was red carded for punching leaving the visitors with only 14 men.
A good break by Bobby Jones put Bambi in for a try but the referee spoilt the party by bringing them back for a forward pass. After 20 minutes Winnington’s replacement prop went off injured and the game went to uncontested scrums. This took away a lot of Fleet’s advantage as they had been dominant in that area.
A good Bobby Jones try was followed by another by Mike Kelly to give Fleet a 14-0 lead with 5 minutes to go to half time. The final 5 minutes brought a flurry of scoring. Winnington scored wide out followed by a converted Brad Stapleton try after a kick through.
21-5 as the half drew to a close. However, the scoring wasn’t finished. A kick through by Winnington was being shepherded over the dead ball line but a bad bounce saw Joe Kirton push the ball out with his hand. Legal in Rugby League but not in Rugby Union. The referee awarded a penalty try and the half time score was 21-12
2 yellow cards to Fleetwood evened up the numbers for 20 minutes of the second half. A try by Winnington brought the score to 21-19 followed by a serious injury to James Lilley (broken ankle). An unfortunate end to the season for James who had played in every game. The next scrum saw Bambi at No.8 , a position he has never played. From a 5m Line Out Fleet caught and drove the ball over the line with Shamu claiming the try. 26-19 with time running out. Winnington were not to be denied and a converted try as time was running out made the score a respectable 26 all draw.
The Man of the Match award by the sponsors was a forgone conclusion as the sponsors were Bambi’s parents and his wife. Congratulations Bambi on your first Man of the Match Award and thanks for a great career!!
Report by Steve Doherty