Looking to banish the ghost of last season and full of hope & confidence Manchester 2nd XV made the trip to Wirral to open up their 2014/15 league campaign. On a late sunny summers day the visitors, buoyed in numbers by a few debutants, were looking to execute their now well-rehearsed game plan. Unfortunately it didn’t happen as the past season once again came back to haunt them. In fairness the Manchester pack dominated at set piece pushing the Wirral scrum back, while Gareth Durnall more than justified his move from wing to 2nd row over the close season. The aforementioned was a nuisance to the opposition throw in all afternoon as he disrupted and stole many a ball at line out time. Unfortunately it was in open play where Manchester struggled with a number of players ball watching and migrating towards the rucks the spaces were left out wide for the home side to attack and by half time they were 29 points up. The only consolation was a well scored try from No10 Lloyd Straddlin who attacked the blind side from a Manchester scrum. The try converted by Paul Giannasi left a half time score of 29-7 to Wirral. Wirral continued to take advantage of the visitor’s poor defence in the second half playing the kind of open game that Manchester should aspire to. With lazy defence and still a number of forwards migrating to the rucks, the gaps appeared and Wirral capitalised on the space causing mayhem with their quick off load game. Anybody watching would have thought that the visitors were still playing summer touch as some very poor tackling saw the home side score at will. Despite some heroic defence from MoM Mikey Williams the score line kept increasing and by the final whistle it was Wirral 63 Manchester 7.
1. Kealin Smith 2. Sam Oakes 3. Ollie Jones 4. Gareth Durnall 5. Paul Farrington (c)
6. Mikey Williams 7. Josh Watts 8. Jack Cooper 9. Richard Cross 10 Lloyd Straddling (1T)
11. Dan Reece 12. Michael Moran 13. Matthew Irvine 14. Jon Mallinson 15. Paul Giannasi (1C)
Bench 16. Dom Thomas 17. Alex Nobahar