Manchester 2nd XV travelled to New Brighton to open their 2012/13 season in Div 2S of the Salford University leagues. This was a repeat of the last game of last season when Manchester ended up winning 20-12 in a tight game.
Again it was another tight contest and it took until 20 minutes for the 1st score of the game to come. New Brighton applied pressure up the middle of the park but stout defence managed to keep the home side out. Eventually the home side sent the ball wide where they had numbers on a stretched Manchester defence, leading to the home winger to beat the Manchester drift on the outside to go over for the 1st try of the day which was converted to put the home side 7-0 up.
Manchester didn’t panic and kept their composure, they were dominant in the lineout throughout the game with skipper Paul Farrington winning his own ball comfortably and taking 6 against the throw. Manchester managed to parity on the score board 10 minutes later. From the ruck the ball was sent out to fly half Chris Lloyd who managed to chip the rushing blitz defence burst through the gap and reclaim his kick to go under the post. Lloyd then successfully converted his own try to make the scores 7-7. A good dive up the middle of the restart from No 8 and Man Of the Match Brian Ndlovu saw Manchester creep into the opposition half and when New Brighton infringed at the ruck up stepped Lloyd to slot over the penalty for the visitors to go into the break 10-7.
New Brighton brought the scores level in the second half when their penalty kick that looked to be falling short hit the cross bar and upright and sneaked over. Some superb defence and turn over from Ndlovu and fellow back row Fred Drewitt ensured that New Brighton weren’t able to capitalise in the second half. Manchester continued to dominate at the line out opting to catch and drive gaining 20 meters before miss communication saw the maul being pushed into touch. Special mention must also go to debutant Matt Wilde who put in a solid shift at prop and also backrow/ hooker Ed Laing who had a faultless game playing out of position at centre. Manchester spurned an opportunity go back into the lead when they were awarded a penalty 10 meters out from the New Brighton line. With a stiff breeze in their face the visitors elected to go for the lineout and drive over the line only for Lloyd to put the ball dead instead of into touch.
With both sides infringing at the break down the ref finally lost patience and with 15 minutes to go Drewitt was sent to the bin for coming in at the side.
The final blow came in the dying seconds of the game. Poor rucking from the visitors saw scrappy ball being turned over. Despite the efforts of Drewitt & Ndlovu to turn the ball over the home side shifted the ball wide. With poor tackling from Manchester the New Brighton winger raced down the touch line and despite a valiant cover tackle from full back Ant Walker on the line the home winger managed to ground the ball in the corner. The successful conversion brought the end of the match and what seemed a certain draw turned into a crushing 17-10 defeat for the visitors.
Squad:- 1) Ben Gordon, 2) karl Higginson, 3) Matt Wilde, 4) Rob Pengelly, 5) Paul Farrington (c), 6) Dom Thomas, 7) Fred Drewitt (Y), 8) Brian Ndlovu, 9) James Hoggard 10) Chris Lloyd (1T,1C,1P), 11) Josh Wilde, 12) Ed Laing, 13) Ben Jenkins, 14) Dan Reece, 15) Ant Walker.
Subs:- 16) Zeeshan Khan (on for Wilde, M), 17) Allan (on for Thomas).
Man Of The Match:-Brian Ndlovu.