Youngsters Shine in the Sun
By Pete Fielding
On a sunny, but crisp and cold day, Moor hosted Vagabonds from the Isle of Man on Saturday.
On a sunny, but crisp and cold day, Moor hosted Vagabonds from the Isle of Man on Saturday, in a game rearranged from a few weeks before. The conditions meant that the playing surface was as firm as it had been for a number of months, making it ideal for running rugby and coach Mark Edwards took the opportunity to leave out some seven players from the previous week and give some youngsters a chance to show their paces – two making only their third full start and one making his debut, with a total of five players all under 21.
The Manx-men haven’t been having the best of seasons, currently propping up the rest of the division and Moor took a while to get going, producing a number of forced and unforced errors in the opening ten minutes, as well as giving away a few penalties, fortunately all too far away from their line, preventing the visitors from opting to kick for goal. Once the scoring started however, tries came at regular intervals, with the first being scored when fullback Olly Reynolds joined the back line at pace to touch down wide out, just failing with the conversion. The second came from an exceptional individual effort from 17-year old centre Will Kay, making his debut in the side, who collected the ball on the half-way line and produced a powerful run, evading all attempted tackles, to score under the posts, converted by Reynolds.
Next it was prop James Brennan on the score sheet, followed by Kay with his second, which he engineered from a quickly taken penalty, showing a maturity well-beyond his years, to score under the sticks; the resultant conversion being inexplicably missed. Winger Jack Humpage was next to score, again under the posts, this time converted, followed by hooker Mike Maguire. This latter try followed some closely-worked forward play from the visitors, as they tried not to undertake too expansive a game and play to their strength. Just as they looked as they might threaten the Moor line, the home side turned the ball over, to run it in from their own 22.
The final try before the break was set up by winger David Adebo as he sped some 80 metres from just short of his own line and when halted, the ball was recycled to centre Chris Sutton to score another converted try, making the half-time score 41-0 to Moor.
With the game long over as a contest, it was a question of how many more tries Moor would clock up in the second period and they continued where they had left off, scoring with regularity. The first again involved Kay as he set up fly-half and captain, Chris Ogden-Smith, the next provided Maguire with his second following a rolling maul and the third came from an interception by replacement Kingsley Child; Reynolds converting two of the three. There then followed a relatively barren period for the home side, as they had to defend for quite some time as the Vagas forwards successfully kept hold of the ball deep within the Moor half and repeatedly attempted to drive over to open their account, but stout defence kept them out. Unfortunately for the visitors, on one of these attempts they were penalised and a quickly-taken penalty by Moor resulted in a break-out by Adebo, to score in the corner.
This set-back appeared to knock the last remnants of what resolve Vagas had left, as two more converted tries were scored in quick succession; Kay getting his hat-trick and Adebo his second. With full-time approaching, it appeared as if Moor would settle for the then score of 79-0, but three tries in the last five minutes from flanker Bryn Jones, Sutton and deep into injury time, a third for Maguire, the attempted conversion of which agonisingly hit an upright, resulted in a 98-0 win for Moor.
Whilst not providing the best of opposition this season, Vagas were nonetheless spirited throughout the game and until near the end, never looked like giving up, not something you could say about most sides in similar circumstances. Moor could only play what was in front of them, but the performance by their youngsters provided much food for thought for coach Edwards.
Next Saturday, Moor travel the short distance to fellow-Stockport side Marple, k.o. 3:00 p.m.