This time last year we had already lost several games to the weather, this year we are still basking in the warm weather on a Sunday morning.
Heaton Moor turned up with a good sized squad and by their warm up, looking for a strong encounter with Manchester.
Manchester with 7 out through injury and missing Ciaran too managed to put out a squad of twenty in preparation for the Lancs cup game next Sunday Vs Blackburn.
We were honoured as the senior side at home to have the first team pitch for our use, so with the stands packed Manchester chose to receive ball with the sun in their eyes.
A quick start to the game and Manchester showed good hands in the backs moving the ball from breakdown to break down on both sides of the pitch, the ball ended up with Mason and he crossed in the corner to score, TJ, on form today converted the try beautifully , 3 mins into the game score (7 -0)
Heaton Moor kicked off, Max M took the ball beautifully offloaded the ball to Aden who took it into contact, unfortunately we committed too many to the breakdown, Heaton Moor came out with the ball, spun it out wide quickly had an overlap and finished neatly under the posts making for an easy conversion, 6 mins played 7 – 7.
Manchester set off strongly from the kick off, won the ball and Macauley pressed strongly for the line just to the left of the posts, Heaton gathered themselves and managed to hold up Macauley and prevent the try, Heaton Moor scrum. Manchester won the scrum and quick hands delivered the ball down the back line to Mason on the wing who ran in his second of the game. (14 – 7)
Manchester reacted slowly from the Kick off, Heaton Moor took the ball and played the phases a couple of times sucking Manchester players into the breakdown and out of position, moving the ball quickly down the line, Manchester missed tackles, Heaton crossed the Manchester line under the posts for an easily converted try (14 -14).
As promised Manchester coaches mixed up the players making the first of many changes, Charlie, Aden, Laurence and Josh D were replaced by Joe Mc, Joe H, Ross B and Joe Corbelli.
Manchester bounced back quickly and strong running from Mason put him under the posts for the third time in the half, converted by TJ and the score was 21 – 14.
End to end play took Heaton to the Manchester corner where a covering tackle by Mason prevented Heaton Moor from scoring, but resulted in Yellow card and 10 mins in the sin bin for an ‘over enthusiastic scrag – tackle’ after the referee had warned both sides to take more car in the tackle and warned that the next player would be carded. Heaton Moor with the man advantage scored in the far corner to make it 21 – 19. Manchester coped well being a man down and put together some good phases of play with support where it needed to be and Macauley crossed in the right corner to make it 26 – 19 at half time.
More changes were made at half time; Greg, Matt G, Joe Ch and Joe Mc were replaced by Josh D, Charlie, Joe Corbelli, Joe H and Niall for his debut. Mason returned from his Yellow.
We set off strongly in the second half and took a greater control of the game which was especially pleasing as we had made so many changes, (at this point I was making sure that the guys had as much and as fair amount of game time as we could so forgot to make notes!). So in summary Mason scored under the posts giving TJ his easiest kick of the match (33 – 19)
Manchester took the ball form a number of breakdowns and a couple of scrums against the head consistent passing and support gave Matthew the opportunity to score again converted by TJ, (40 – 19)
More changes made and Joe Ch, Alex MJ, Aden, Greg and Matt G replaced Laurence, Joe H, Luke Boon, Charlie and Joe Corbelli who moved to hooker and played a great game there.
The side came together well again and clean ball gave Aden the chance to cross the Heaton Moor line, TJ converted and the final score was 47 – 19.
Well done to the whole squad, they knew before hand that there would be lots of changes, no one moaned; they clapped each other on and off the pitch at each swap.
Mentions to Niall who made a couple of strong runs and did well to keep the ball until support arrived, Ross who made some strong driving runs, Joe Co and Luke boon who contributed well, Alex MJ driving strongly in the forwards. Josh D and Greg who consistently put the effort in throughout the game and Mason, Matthew and Macauley who are learning the game, setting the ball particularly well after contact and showing handling skill and running lines that we would all be proud of. Obviously, this was only possible because we won quick ball at the breakdown which was well distributed by both Matt G and Charlie. TJ’s kicking was exceptional hitting 6 from 7.
Many thanks to Heaton Moor who took the fixture at relatively late notice and brought a competitive squad to the fixture that played very well throughout the whole game and gave good time to a number of players new to the game.