A lovely crisp morning, frost thawing and the sun warming us all up, we visited Broughton Park for the first time in a few years to play their development squad.
Manchester played the first half into the sun and applied the earliest pressure in a game that already saw several knock ons, with both sides suffering from the same errors. After a Manchester knock on, the resulting scrum gave Broughton Park possession and they showed their good hands in the backs and the pace they had on the wings, a strong run took them clear of the Manchester defence to run in their first try which was duly converted and after 4 mins Broughton were 7 – up.
Some rearranging to the Manchester team saw Aden off as he wasn’t well, Ross on into the forwards and Joe C to the wing.
The restart again began with mixed fortunes for both sides the ball passing from one team to another as a result of turnovers or more knock ons. A period of better ball control meant more pressure from Manchester and a strong run from Luke M and good support meant Ciaran was there to take the offload the ball was passed wide to Joe M who ran the right wing and crossed the Broughton park line to score Manchester’s first try of the day after 13 minutes, TJ kicked well but the angle was too much and the conversion was missed. (7 -5)
The game settled for a while then with both teams making ground and at the same time mistakes, meaning much of the game was in the centre of the field Broughton had a penalty and again showed good hands with the ball passing across the pitch twice ending in a dropped pass and another knock on. Manchester won ball from the scrum, quick ball ended up in the hands of Joe H who was eventually tackled into touch. From the lineout Brought moved the ball swiftly to the wing and a second try was run in, converted and the score, after 21 mins now 14 – 5.
The last few minutes of the first half were again mixed and no further scores by either team.
The halftime team talk from Sam was measured and but he made emphasised the point that we don’t need to try to score every phase, but keep playing the phases and the opportunities would come.
Manchester, 14 – 5 down began the second half strongly with good possession and movement of the ball in all areas, tight and quick in the forwards, fast and wide in the backs, playing like this began to stretch the Broughton defence after a few phases, a strong driving run at the end of this passage of play from Ciaran saw him touch down his second of the game. Conversion missed, the score stood at 14 – 10 four mins into the second half.
Receiving the ball well from the kick off, Luke B took the game straight back to Broughton, putting the m on the back foot straight away play led to a Broughton scrum from which Manchester stole the ball and Ciaran crossed the line for what he thought was his hat trick, only to be denied by the referee. This didn’t hold up Manchester for too long as the pressure continued to build with strong runs from Joe C and finally good hands from a stolen scrum meant TJ could cross in the corner for his first try of the game. Conversion again not made and the score was 14- 15 12 mins into the second half. Broughton began well after the restart and were in Manchester’s half and passing to the wing, Luke M anticipated this and mad an interception at pace which gave him the advantage over the quick BP backs and he ran in a try under the posts from 55 m. Life being a little easier for TJ, he converted and the score at 14 mins was 14 – 22.
Again strong takes from the kick off by Luke B put BP on the back foot again good phases and pressure after a line out meant Ciaran had the opportunity to go over for his third of the day 14 – 27.
Manchester were straight back on to BP’s try line after the kickoff more good phases and hands in the backs led to a ruck from which Ciaran picked up and crossed the BP line for the fourth time today 14 -32.
Manchester should have held on to this lead or increased it further being in the BP half, a kick to clear their lines was charged down by Matt Graham, unfortunately he couldn’t ground the ball and the resulting melee led to a BP penalty, taken quickly a Broughton centre was passed the ball within 5 m of his own try line, stretched his legs and 90 or so metres later was touching the ball down under the Manchester posts, easily converted the score was now 21 – 32. Soon after the restart the whistle went for the end of the game.
All in a much better performance in the second half from Manchester once they began to play the game that we know they can, patient and playing to their strengths, all we can ask for is that we start next week end the against Sedgely the way we finished today against Broughton.
Thanks to Broughton who invited us over, all in a good day of rugby from two teams that had a considerable number of developing players on the pitch. Good luck to Broughton for the remainder of the season.