Moor hosted Wigan at Green Lane last Saturday, playing them for the first time in three seasons and for only the fourth time in some thirty years. Prior to the formation of national leagues, fixtures between the sides were a routine occurrence, with the visitors very much in front in the bragging rights. However, going into this game, the home side found themselves some 18 points better off in the division and hoping to put a halt to the opposition’s advantage in matches and so maintain their challenge at the top of the division. With both sides somewhat depleted due to injuries, the outcome appeared to be very much in the balance and with decidedly damp conditions, the result could possibly depend upon which side would be best at keeping the error-count down.
Wigan kicked off and had opened their account within a matter of minutes with a penalty kick, having kept Moor pinned down during the time leading up to the score. Moor didn’t take long in replying, when following a quickly taken tap penalty by scrum half Jack Wilson, the ball was recycled a couple of times and finding it’s way back to him, he spotted a gap in the advancing Wigan back line to break through and when halted, centre Perkins Joseph was up in support to collect a pass and with his pace, managed to break through despairing tackles to touch down just wide of the posts. The conversion by full back Ollie Reynolds meant that Moor now led 7-3, a lead that they then never relinquished.
This seemed to fire the home side’s forwards as they then proceeded to keep their opposite numbers on the back foot and following a number of drives near to the visitor’s line, prop Sam Ireland finished off with a well-worked pick and go to cross the whitewash and with Reynolds adding the conversion, Moor were now 14-3 up with less than a quarter of the match played. Moor did have a chance to go further ahead shortly afterwards, but a long-range penalty kick by Reynolds bounced agonisingly off the crossbar. For the rest of the time leading up to the break, play was confined mostly to midfield and in the closing minutes, Wigan began to take the upper hand and were rewarded with a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time, to make the interval score 14-6 to Moor.
Following the restart, the home side quickly restored their advantage with their own penalty kick by Reynolds, but it soon became the opposition’s turn to have the edge in the game as they repeatedly threatened the Moor line and from a series of rucks midway through the half, Wigan scored their solitary try of the afternoon. Although they continued to threaten for a few minutes more, Wigan could not break through the Moor defence and eventually the latter regained the upper hand and play moved to the opposite end of the field. This pressure eventually paid off when Moor were awarded a penalty, but instead of taking a kick, they elected to take a scrum.
This then produced another series of drives and it was Ireland who again finished off the final one with his second try of the game, converted by Reynolds. Moor did not let up the pressure as they went in search of a bonus-point try and deep into injury time they appeared to have won a scrum on the visitor’s 5-metre line, which they were obviously relishing, only for the referee to blow for full-time and the game ended 24-11 in their favour. This was a thoroughly absorbing match in which both sides competed from start to finish, with Moor just having the edge, especially in the forwards, making less mistakes and conceding fewer penalties.
Moor are away at Liverpool Collegiate next Saturday, k.o. 2:15p.m., which will be a vital game for both sides as second play third in the division.