The West Bank Bears U10s travelled away to Eccles on Sunday to play against a very strong Salford City Roosters side which pushed them all the way in the same fixture in 2016, so the young Bears were expecting to have a tough game on their hands.
Despite the rain not making an appearance this weekend, there was still a battle with the conditions to be had, as the pitch resembled a farmers field in some places, which meant it was likely to be heavy going for the players, especially the bigger forwards from West Bank.
The Bears made a blistering start to the game and were quickly 2 scores up, with great individual efforts from both Michael Lawton and Kian McGann, one try being goaled by Harvey Bennett. But being behind on the scoreboard didn't dent the confidence of the home side who stuck to their gameplan of strong midfield carries, and eventually they drew a few too many defenders into the tackle, from a Bears point of view, and quickly whipped the ball out wide to score in the corner.
At the midway point in the first half it was apparent that West Bank were starting to control the game and they were soon in again, with a fantastic team try which started in their own half. The forwards gained great yards up field and Rueben Mafi powered his way over from close range. George Hughes added the extra 2 points to give a scoreline of 16 points to 6 in favour of the away side.
But the Roosters wouldn't lie down and to their credit they did their very best to get back into the game, but the effort was in vain as West Bank launched another great attacking move which saw them score their fourth try of the 1st half through another powerful close range carry by Josh Swindley. Rueben Mafi took the 2 points on offer.
The second half begun with the Roosters in possession after a handling error from the Bears at the kick off. And this gave the home side the boost they needed. A good completed set gave them field postion and when the Bears made another error in their next set of six, Salford took advantage to score right through the middle.
At 22 - 12 the game was far from over and despite the pitch really starting to cut up, it was outstanding footwork from the West Bank back line that caused the home side problems as the two teams tired.
Kian McGann scored another wonderful individual effort in which he beat 3 or 4 players and sprinted down the touchline and that try was soon followed by another blockbusting 4 pointer by Rueben Mafi who led from the front all game. Both tries were a reward for the whole team who had worked hard for each other throughout, and both tries were goaled by Harry Hughes and Michael Lawton resepectively.
A final scoreline of 32 points to 12 was just rewards for the dominance which the young Bears had throughout the game, with the most pleasing aspect of the performance being the grit and determination shown by each player when the opponents began to rough things up a little.
Man of the Match, chosen by the parents, and Top Tackler for the game, both went to winger Lucas Hendry who was superb in both attack and defence and who caused problems throughout the game with his strong dummy half carries.