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Heaton Moor 38 – Aspull 35

Heaton Moor 38 – Aspull 35

David Todd9 Apr - 17:49
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Mission accomplished

For their final league game of the season, Moor entertained Aspull at Green Lane on Saturday, needing to gain at least a single point to ensure that they would not be automatically relegated. In the event, they more than achieved this and as it turned out, with other results going their way, the points didn’t actually matter.
The home side kicked off with a strong, almost gale-like, crosswind, which probably didn’t help the visitors, as the ball was knocked forwards whilst trying to retrieve it, awarding Moor an attacking scrum. This was recycled along their back line, before being bundled into touch just short of the opposition try-line. From the resultant lineout, Aspull were penalised and Moor elected to kick to touch. Winning this lineout, Moor then set up a rolling maul that resulted in a try for prop James Brennan, converted by fly-half Mike Ingham. Nevertheless, this immediate setback didn’t appear to upset Aspull, as they ended up having the better of the possession and position up until the break. It wasn’t until midway through this period that they actually opened their account however, when they scored a converted try. This followed a mistake when the ball was being passed along their three-quarter line and it failed to reach the intended target, but as Moor attempted to gather the loose ball, it was knocked on, handing a scrum to Aspull. From this, their back-row picked up and burst through to score under the crossbar. There then followed a hectic seven-minute period with both sides adding to their respective totals after each kick-off. The visitors doubled their score when, from the first restart, the ball was passed out wide and then back inside to touch down for another converted try. Then, Moor managed to retain possession after the second restart and Ingham put in a delicate chip over the advancing defence, allowing winger Myles Maclagan to run through and collect the ball and score out wide. Following the third restart, Moor knocked on, providing a scrum to Aspull, who then quickly passed the ball along their back line, creating an overlap, to score an unconverted try in the corner. Five minutes before the interval, Moor were penalised, allowing the opposition to kick a penalty goal, which brought the half-time score to 22-12 for Aspull. As it turned out, it was a lead that they would not relinquish until the last ten minutes of the contest.
The start of the second half was almost a duplicate of the first as Moor scored within a couple of minutes. This came after they collected the kick-off, passed it one way and then the other, for winger Sam Firth to take the final pass and sprint some 60 metres up-field to score, converted by Ingham. They now only needed another try to secure that vital point and it seemed to signal a change in the game as it was they who then had the majority of play, helped by the prevailing wind, although whenever Aspull got into Moor’s territory, they still posed a threat and in the third quarter had scored twice more; once from a penalty kick and the other an unconverted try. It meant that Moor were still in the same position as they had been at the break, needing another score to have a chance of gaining a losing bonus-point, or possibly two scores to retake the lead. In the final twenty minutes, Moor did manage this, as they scored three more tries, two of which were converted. The first followed a lineout from a penalty kick to touch, which was won, allowing flanker Archie Ward to break off and take play to within five metres of the line and when stopped, replacement centre Charles Breckell was on hand to finish off with a try between the uprights. The second came after Moor continued to apply pressure on the Aspull line, forcing the latter to concede consecutive penalties, each of which Moor elected to take as a scrum. After the third of these transgressions, the referee then yellow-carded an Aspull player, and from the resultant scrum and drive, the ball was passed along the back line, where full-back Tom Shaw collected the final pass to score. It now meant that Moor were back in the lead, which they increased from the restart, as with a man advantage, they set up an attack along their three-quarter line from where Firth was put away to score his second try, converted by Ingham. Deep into injury-time, the visitors had yet another player sin-binned, but it was they who had the final say, as on the last play, with Moor certain of victory, they scored their fifth try, which was unconverted, bringing the game to a close and a 38-35 win for Moor.
This was a thoroughly entertaining game for the large group of spectators from both sides and although Moor achieved the task of avoiding automatic relegation, it was only their fourth league win of the season and until the positions of clubs in higher leagues are resolved, they could still be find themselves going down.
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