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2XV - Match centre

Manchester Village Spartans RFC
Sefton 2nd XV
Sat 16 Feb 14:15 - Halbro North West Leagues - Division 3 South Full time

Goldilocks and the Three Beards

It was a beard fest for the away match against Manchester Village Spartans, all determined to show they were ready for a hard encounter.

With JP’s beard regrowth, and both Precious and Anger Management sporting similar well-groomed facial hair, you have to ask who had the best, and who were they trying to impress, but more importantly who was Goldilocks, surely it had to be Princess?

---- The Crying Game ----
Tuesday night selection is always full of hope. Availability is high, with everyone keen to play, however as the week goes on, the enthusiasm wanders.

First to fall was Mark Dobie, having kids has been his downfall, with his wife understandably wanting nothing to do with them. You could just throw a bone in their cage, and lock the door Mark, I here they’re practically feral anyway.

Next Christian Caine Jr. cries-off, sighting his broken toe as an excuse for not turning up. He has nine others (maybe more, depending on his inbreeding). To blame his parents would be harsh, after all commitment seems to be absent from the Caine DNA. Young Christian used to be my favourite, I will now have to look to the younger one to restore my belief in them, the last hope.

With Brian Gardner broken, and Aaron Walker trying to buy himself out of Liverpool, it was up to Matty Cunningham and Anger Management to hold up the scrums. With Jamie Luck also in the team, there was concern about the chances of keeping the two angry Welshmen on the pitch for the full eighty minutes, a task in itself.

We arrive at their club with fifteen, and one hopefully on his way. Spartan’s club was a strange one, playing out of a social club, with a basement dungeon used as changing facilities.

The Spartans started the strongest, with an enthusiastic pack determined to make their mark early. A lineout on Sefton’s five metre line gave them the platform for their first try, driving the maul over the try line with Sefton failing to halt it.

Sefton hit back almost immediately, when the Spartans failed to secure their own lineout, ten metres from their line. JP Ellis was first to the spilled ball, and able to go straight through the middle, brushing off any resistance to go over for a try. Precious converted.

With Precious kicking intelligently to get Sefton back into Spartans half, they were able to draw their defence in to create space on the blind. A ball out to JP gave Sefton an overlap and Tom James was able to go over in the corner for his first senior try.

The Spartans were able to reply with a converted try of their own, with another well worked maul, which edged them ahead in the closing minutes of the half. With this Sefton lost two players, Tom James went off with an injury, and number three got a ten minutes sin bin for something he said about the refs decision. Surprisingly, Henry Simpson trudges off. This is very uncharacteristic for Henry to voice his opinion, it was only after this that I noticed Anger Management also had the same number three on his back, a more fitting offender maybe?

A late push into Spartan’s half allowed Sefton to reach the try line, and JP was again able to power over the try line for a try, converted by Precious.

In the second half Sefton started the stronger and immediately put the Spartans under pressure, with the return of Henry Simpson bolstering their attack. With the ball shifted out to the backs, Jamie Luck was able to put Alistair McKie through a gap and under the posts for a try which Precious converted.

With the ball safely within the oppositions half, Sefton should have been confident of finishing the game, but the Spartans hit back from a scrum, shifting the ball wide to the wing and breaking round the outside for a converted try.

Now understanding where they needed to attack, they continued to use the outside channels, and some poor defending by Sefton allowed the Spartan’s to get another converted try to edge them into the lead.

At this point Sefton were in danger of being overrun, and a kick out of their twenty-two by Spartan’s could have gone either way. Under the ball was Wet Lettuce (formally Broccoli), and if he dropped the ball the Spartan’s would have been in for another try. However, he takes the catch on the run, and is through into open space to score a try. Precious converts.

With Precious having a further chance to increase the lead with a penalty in front of the posts, Sefton seemed on top now, with even Pistol Pete making a break through the middle. Realising that the try line was too far, he kicks through and is half tackled in the process. His dive was incredible, Premiership football quality, with delayed fall and flaying arms. How he managed to convince the ref I have no idea, but he was awarded a penalty where the ball landed. From there Sefton pushed for the line, and JP should have been able to break through if he hadn’t looked for the biggest forwards to run into. The chance ended with a bit of try line panic when the ball was slung out to Paddy Walsh who wasn’t expecting it, fumbled, and lost the ball. Further disappointment came with the injury of Anger Management, yet again losing our powerful scrum, and meaning a half fit Tom James had to come back on.

Spartan’s eventually get away from their line, and get another breakaway try to pull the score back. Unsure of the score the ref had to take a break to calculate the score, with Pistol Pete offering up his ten fingers to help with the adding up. Eventually it was agreed Sefton were ahead by one point.

This did not help nerves, and with Spartans confidence up, they attacked wide at any opportunity. The break came again from their half, with Sefton’s backs producing some of their best air tackles. Tom James and Mat Stilgo must have taken secret lessons from Campo, with some impressive dives grasping at nothing, and even Wet Lettuce, usually an excellent tackler, got in on the act.

The game ends with the Spartans just clinching it, and they were clearly very happy with the result. It was a good game, played in the right spirit, which could have gone either way, but for once Sefton’s defensive qualities let them down. The ref was not one for conversation, getting angry whenever Princess tried to ask a question, but then again Princess has that effect on everyone. In all he was harsh, but fair, we will have to work on our ‘keeping the ref on your side’ skills, but with two angry Welshmen in your side, it’s not easy. Man of the match, went to an impressive performance by Alistair McKie, no wonder the third team have been keeping him quite.

Luckily the Spartan’s let us out of their basement dungeon, and on leaving Jamie Luck suggested it would be a quality night at their club tonight, with no women to spoil things. I’m not sure if he was hinting that he wanted to stay, although he was adamant that no-one in Wales should know we lost today.

I’m not sure which bed Goldilocks ended up sleeping in, or whether it was too hard, too soft, or just perfect.

Quilter Kids First Skills Series: Crab Football

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Division 3 South results

Glossop 3rd XV
W
L

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Anselmians 2nd XV 18 64
2. Manchester 2nd XV 19 64
3. Moore 19 62
4. Lymm Eagles (3rd XV) 17 48
5. Knutsford 19 47
6. Sefton 2nd XV 18 47
7. Prenton 2nd XV 18 45

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