By Southport Rugby Football Club
Mens 1st team
For the second time this year Bolton were the visitors to Southport with the home side looking to replicate their cup victory from earlier in the season. The pre match pleasantries were enjoyed by EFT, the match day sponsors, and the most experienced past players of the club who attended the first of the 150th celebratory events. Stuart Fletcher and Mike Byrne provided an array of pictures and reports from the 50’s and 60’s and it was great to see past teammates recounting rugby stories and memories of their time at Waterloo Road.
The weather conditions were once again ideal for rugby and Bolton kicked off to the club house end and were soon the beneficiary of a penalty which put them 3 points ahead. Southport responded very quickly and after a couple of strong runs by the Caldwell brothers a try was scored in the corner by Paul Latham making it 5 -3. Some good strong running rugby was being played by both sides but then the game became a bit scrappy with both teams failing to execute their moves, knocking on, or committing fouls. Southport then experienced a period of dominance and with good mauling technique and strong running Toots was eventually able to get over the white wash scoring a well deserved try. Jake Manns conversion made it 12 -3. Bolton were quick to respond with some good offloading in the tackle and they finally broke through and scored a converted try leaving the scores 12 – 10 at the break.
Southport kicked off to the Clubhouse end and were immediately on the front foot however they missed a penalty and a hotly disputed forward pass which looked like it was a try left them bereft of points despite all their efforts. Undeterred the home team kept pounding away and after an excellent cut out pass by Eddie Webster, Ollie Ball was able to dot down in the corner giving Southport a 17 – 10 lead. Southport were really buzzing and with the dependable James Forrest Bailey breaking numerous tackles and gaining 30 yards he managed to off load to Ollie Ball who popped a pass to Connor Rylands who also managed an excellent score in the corner. This time Jake Manns kick was accurate pushing the lead out to 24 -10. Bolton were never going to rollover and they continued to battle hard and eventually scored a try next to the posts which after the conversion left the score 24 – 17. This seemed to give Bolton confidence and they scored a well worked try from a good break by their centre who slipped the ball out to their wing who raced under the posts and with the successful conversion the game was all tied up at 24 points apiece. The game was there for the taking and both teams had their chances however Southport pack were starting to exert themselves in the scrum and following a penalty and Jake Manns long kick into the corner they were able to win the resultant line out and rumble a maul 30 metres to score the decisive try near the posts. Ollie Much emerged with the ball and with Jake Manns kick being true, the home team led 31 – 24. Southport had a chance to increase their lead with a penalty, but the score ended unchanged but with a very welcomed bonus point. Great performances by Captain Forrest Bailey whose cool head enabled the team to believe in themselves and bounce back with the final try. Toots and Eddie Webster were again strong contributors only just overshadowed by Ollie Ball who played out of position on the wing and scored a lovely try and set up another.
Seconds and Thirds
The second team had a tough match away against Eccles 2 and were soundly beaten 50 -10. The thirds were successful and had a strong win against Aldershaw 2’s 43 – 7. This game was highlighted by the appearance of 2 sets of lads and dads with the 2 Keating boys together with the 2 Hart boys getting on the pitch with their fathers. Man of the match however on the week of his 18th birthday was Dillon Keating.
Both the Colts and the Ladies were at home on what undoubtedly was a Super Sunday.
The colts won 26 – 19 with the highlight of the game a return for Connor Ellerton who after a three year battle with Leukaemia was back playing again. Welcome back Connor and very well done.
Southport Ladies welcomed Halifax Ladies to Waterloo Road this Sunday and despite their notoriety of appearing on Gallagher Premiership highlights during the week were looking to maintain their unbeaten run in the Women’s NC 1 North West League. The game got underway and with just 5 minutes on the clock, centre Rouffignac kicked the ball through for speedy winger Jessop to chase, kick on and dot down to put the first points on the board. Gaskin added the extras with an ‘in off the post’ conversion. Halifax showed some good structured play and Southport’s defence had its work cut out but with a good kicking game from Southport, they managed to contain the Halifax attack. With some great set plays and strong lines of running, Southport made the break and the ball found try machine McKeown who ran in her 10th try of the season. Gaskin unable to make the conversion. Score 12-0. Play continued with both teams showing strong running and solid defence and with big hits from flanker Lane, who as always worked tirelessly around the park, the first half played out in the middle of the pitch. Half time score 12-0
Southport continued the second half in the same vein with some hard hits and tenacious play and it was Captain Walton who turned the ball over giving scrum half Rouffignac the opportunity to make the break. She offloaded to the supporting Gaskin who scored try number 3. Unfortunately the conversion was just wide. With the Southport line-outs on point and the scrums solid, Southport continued to apply the pressure but when the Halifax forwards stole the ball and started to rumble up the pitch they showed their intent by scoring a converted try taking the score to 17-7. As the clock ticked down Halifax were on the attack but with the Southport defence working hard and some good strong tackling by flanker Simpson, Southport pinned Halifax back on their own 5 metre line. A resulting knock on awarded Southport the scrum allowing Griffiths to pick from the base and crash over for try number 4. Gaskin added the extras. From the restart Halifax stole the ball and made good ground. Their hard work paid off and they scored another converted try taking the score to 24-14. With 10 minutes left on the clock it was very much ‘game on’ but when scrum half Rouffignac spotted the gap and made the break, she dotted down over the line to score Southport’s 5th. Gaskin made the conversion and took the game out of reach for Halifax. Final score 31-14.
No matches this weekend but the Clubhouse will be showing all of the international matches so what better way to spend your Saturday afternoon than at Southport Rugby Club. The Ladies travel to Sale 1861 on 27th November for the next round of the cup in what will be a huge test for Southport against a team riding high in the league above and the Men travel to Didsbury Toc H for what will also be a tough challenge.