Southport starting fifteen started the game with real focus and intensity, the forwards being on the front foot from the off! Dominating the scrums and the breakdown, putting LSH on the defensive and starved of ball. However, some defensive and positional errors from Southport led to LSH opening the scoring with an unconverted try. Thankfully Southport responded quickly, forcing their way over the line for the first of Southports 6 tries and the first of 2 conversions.
What followed was a more cohesive performance, Southport’s pack dominating the game repeatedly pushing the LSH scrum backwards, going through the phases retaining the ball with pretty much all the forwards carrying the ball in hand at some point. Ball retention from the ruck with the use of pick and drives resulted in a further, two unanswered tries before half time giving Southport a three try to one lead at half time.
Southport made a sluggish and complacent start to the second half which allowed LSH to score again, this time managing to convert their try. This seemed to rally our boys and what followed was 10 minutes of the best rugby we have seen all season with all players carrying the ball and supporting each other in the forwards and the backline drawing LSH players in creating space and then spreading the ball wide to the wing where two tries were scored in quick succession. Entertaining, flowing rugby being played with the ball going through many sets of hands at pace. From a coaching point of view, it was a joy to watch and proves that when the boys go through the phases and the plays that are asked of them and work together as a team they are a match for anyone.
Unfortunately, a short spell of too many Southport players trying to do too much individually and not working as a team, resulted in our performance becoming ragged, allowing LSH back into the game with another score. Southport managed to steady the ship by retaining the ball for a period which resulted in another try which effectively put the game to bed although LSH did manage to score again making it a tense few moments before the final whistle was blown.
Overall a very encouraging performance, proving that when we play as a team, superb rugby will follow. With continued hard work, focus and improved fitness we can play this type of rugby for the duration of a full match. A step in the right direction, more focus in the warm up is needed, again some boys messing around, causing a nuisance to the majority of the boys who are trying to prepare properly for the match.
There were some notable performances, some good strong ball carrying from Dan Huggins, some excellent line out throwing from Callum Smith on the money every time! Ollie Roper continues to improve in his new position at 10 and some great finishing from Ben (The Flash) Gillman on the wing. Again, our fearless back row, Charlie Gillbanks, Josef Mosson and Alfi Monaghan put in a shift and half, but the real highlight was the performance of Jack Dawson who was on the top of his game playing with some real confidence, great to see.