Precious Cargo Proves Inspirational
By Martin Lancaster
Grand National weekend always causes availability problems, and this year was no different, as Sefton’s annual gamblers suddenly become racing experts for the weekend.
There was only one horse that caught my eye this weekend, and it wasn’t ‘Precious Cargo’, although I was interested to see how it performed. Unfortunately, like its Sefton namesake the three legged horse failed to finish, if it ever started.
---- The Crying Game ----
Surprisingly, we did manage to get a pretty good team together, with our own returning workhorse, Jay Dempsey back off holiday, and another appearance for the exciting Rory Cahoon. Sure Saturday morning came, and a rather sheepish Paul Latham cries-off claiming an injury had incapacitated him (I didn’t realise our lads were so rough in Tuesday night’s game of ‘touch’). Luckily we had saviours from Mossley Hill, when the Finnigan brothers came looking for a game. I just hoped that Steve could control his brother’s persistent talking, which always seems to get him into trouble.
Luckily our Precious did make an appearance, and was immediately lumbered with captaincy, due to me suddenly realising that my winning average was quickly dropping. The day was glorious, a day for making hay, which the horse in the next field agreed with. Sefton started at a bright pace, denying Moore any ball. Within a few crash balls Sefton were threatening their line, and a pick-up from Brian Gardner at the ruck saw him crash over, unstoppable from a huge one metre out. The short drive was so distinctive of another glory hunter, you could’ve been mistaken. Unfortunately, two step Brian isn’t quite as catchy. Precious converts.
At the restart Moore must’ve known about Mark Dobie’s fear of the high ball, and despite hugging the touchline, the ball seemed to seek him out. Fortunately he was able to see the ball this week, and was able to move out of the way to avoid any chance of catching it.
With the ball now in Sefton’s half, they struggled to clear it, and Moore’s big runners managed to trundle over the line for an easy converted try.
Sefton hit back again during another spell of possession, and this time their backs produced the results. A nicely timed pass by Precious put Matt Simpson through a gap and he was able step his way through the covering defence to go over for try, converted by Precious.
Our Princess goes down with a shoulder injury, and has to go off for a bit, this behaviour I expect from Dobie, but not from the fairy princess. Yet again Sefton let Moore back in with another easy run in, due to a mix up in the centres, and some poor tackling.
For the rest of the half Sefton are left defending within their half, with Moore actually getting over the try line twice, only to be held up by some great defending. Matty Cunningham was instrumental in this defence, preventing Moore on several scoring opportunities. In the final play of the half, Sefton finally succumb to the constant pressure, and Moore get their try to edge them into the lead.
The second half started no better, with Moore getting two breakaway tries within the first ten minutes. Paul Finnigan was lucky not to be sent off, as he argued with the opposition. I’m convinced that lad could argue with himself, about not being himself.
---- Who is Sean Muirhead ----
The number 9 - 15 was not happy today, taking a number of knocks during the game, leaving me thinking that perhaps I should take it easy on him. “But it’s the penultimate game Lanky”, I hear you say, “surely he can survive a little more abuse”. Ok, just for you, I’d just like to say it gives me no pleasure.
The Catch – It was a high ball, swirling in the wind, but our Sean comes onto it with a focused mind, attacking it with his usual delusional confidence. Was this it, was he finally going to prove me wrong and take the ball at pace, side step the last defender, and crash over for a glorious try?
No, the ball bounces off his chest and straight into the hands of the waiting defender. I have no words.
After this Moore continue to pound the ball over the top, eventually getting a lucky bounce that deceived everyone except the onrushing attacker, who collects and races away for another try.
---- The Change ----
I don’t know what happened, from being a totally unorganised mess, Sefton all of a sudden became a well-oiled machine. Paul Finnigan had stopped arguing with himself, Paddy Walsh was running with purpose, Wet Lettuce was putting in the tackles, and even my lineout throws were going in straight.
Sefton once again were the stronger of the two sides, providing several opportunities to score. In the last fifteen minutes Sefton battered the opposition try line. The break finally came from a scrum on Moore’s five metre line. The drive pushed them back against their line, and just as Moore’s scrum started to break apart, Steve Finnigan picked up the ball and dived over the try line. A conversion by Precious added the two points, before the final whistle went.
A tough game, that Sefton could have won if they hadn’t slackened off during the middle period, a gutsy performance from the forwards with Brian Gardner leading the charge, and looking like he is finally getting some fitness back, be it at the end of the season. Man of the Match went to Matty Cunningham for another powerful performance around the breakdown, and in defence.
Next week will be the second’s final game of the season, at home against Carrington, where I’m sure the homies will be out in force. Our last chance to use our own Precious Cargo before he is packed away in bubble wrap for the off-season.