West Bank Bears U10s made a midweek trip over to Warrington to play against a Woolston side that were enjoying some great form this season. The young Bears were in confident mood however and were looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, but knew that their opponents had only lost 1 game themselves, so a tough challenge was expected.
A tense first 10 minutes saw both sides come up with early errors, but it was the Bears who settled quicker and soon found themselves 10 points ahead on the scoreboard.
Despite the advantage, West Bank were never in total control and the home side continued to pressurise the Bears with some strong midfield carries from their huge forward pack.
Ill-discipline was beginning to be the Bears undoing and soon Woolston were playing their game on the West Bank try line, eventually taking the opportunity to close the gap to 10 - 6.
Attacking sets were traded and both sides worked tirelessly to try and slow down the opposition, resulting in a rising penalty count as players tried to gain an extra few seconds in the tackle.
The momentum continued to shift as the first half came to a close but it was the away side who finished the stronger with a further try putting the Bears in control going into the break, with a two score lead.
Wooslton started the second half like a whirlwind and the youngsters from Widnes seemed to be startled. On the back foot, the West Bank kids were struggled to cope with an attacking onslaught and a one sided penalty count and they were soon looking at a scoreboard which was in favour of the home side, after two close range tries conceded in disappointing fashion.
A complete turnaround in momentum meant that the Bears had to really up the ante to try and regain control but the home side were growing in confidence with every tackle they made and every carry they had.
West Bank were desperate for a break and continued to work hard for the limited yardage they were making, and despite not playing their best rugby, they eventually grabbed back a slim lead through sheer grit and determination.
It was nailbiting stuff as the game came to a close and Woolston received a gift of field position with the Bears giving away three penalties in succession, resulting in the home side camping on West Bank's tryline. The pressure was too much to hold out the determined home side and they seized on some poor marker play to take the advantage once more.
The scoreline had moved one way and then the other in the second half and with time almost up and the young Bears staring their first defeat of the season in the face, they had one last opportunity with the ball to produce some magic. And magic they produced as they marched down the field with superb ball carries and support play. Woolston did everything possible to hold out the away side but West Bank wouldnt be denied and they scored to gain a 4 point lead and take the victory.
A superb game overall from both sides which could have gone either way but on balance the West Bank kids just did enough for the rewards. Kian McCann was outstanding from fullback, scoring 4 tries and taking the parents man of the match award unanimously. Reuben Mafi led from the front with his defence and took the top tackler award, just pipping Josh Swindley and Michael Lawton.
The victory gives the young Bears their 7th in 7 games and they now enter 3 weeks of fixtures against tough Wigan sides who will no doubt look to take the scalp of the unbeaten West Bank U10s. The Bears will have to be much better but will continue to draw on the confident start to the season.