Wirral Back Row Wins the Day
For the second week running Wirral were playing a Cumbrian team in the shape of Kirkby Lonsdale, who were promoted from North West 1 last season having won the league.
Wirral made one change to the starting fifteen from last week with Sam Broadbent
returning after a hamstring injury in place of CHRIS SPEED. The substitutes were STEVE PENDERGAST, Ryan Stead
and Jamie Thompson
. There was a slight breeze in favour of Kirkby Lonsdale (KL) as Wirral played towards the main road.
KL kicked off and Wirral dropped the ball giving KL the scrum, they won the ball and went blind where Wirral had no guard and giving the scrum half and captain, Ben Walker a free run to the Wirral line, with the try being converted by Augustine Cittadini, 0-7 (1 min). Wirral on their first venture into the KL were awarded a penalty almost head on to the posts which James Annetts
converted from 39m, 3-7 (4 mins).
KL with a scrum in mid field moved the ball out to the backs but a clever switch inside saw a break of some 50m, which is halted on Wirral’s 20m line and with the ball being quickly recycled led to a try by hooker, Matt Hoyland and again converted by Cittadini. 3-14 (9 mins). 6 minutes later a double penalty for talking back to the referee advanced play to some 30m from the Wirral posts and the KL kicker obliged to give KL a 3-17 lead (15 mins). At this stage Wirral were disjointed and unable to play their normal game.
came on for MATT DALTON (twisted ankle). At last Wirral were able to put a move together and advanced into the KL 20m area, a kick through rebounded back to Wirral and the home team mauled forward some 12m over the line only to be deemed as being held up. From the 5m scrum, Wirral advanced forward and Keith Mahon
picked up and dived over, with the conversion close to the touchline being missed. 8-17 (19 mins). Straight from the kick off collected by Wirral the ball was moved down the backs with Matt Loon
coming off the opposite wing to make the decisive break, passing onto James Annetts
who drew the fullback before putting in Rob Pearl
with a clear 30m run to the line giving James Annetts
an easy conversion, 15-17 (20 mins).
Wirral were now playing the better rugby and were exposing the right half of the KL backs, a further break of some 50m by Mark Williams
took play into the KL half a pass inside did not go to hand, a pick up and kick from KL took the away side into the Wirral 20m area, they recycled and spun the ball wide and left winger, Harry Huddleston crossed in the corner, the conversion was missed. 15-22 (25 mins). Although Wirral continued to press they were losing the ball in tackles, dropping the ball etc and could not get their game together and this continued until half time. In the minutes before half-time, Wirral made two changes: STEVE PENDERGAST for Ryan Higginson
and MATT DALTON on for Paul Lewis
(rib injury). The KL influential No 8 South African, David Maka, was sin binned for a high tackle.
At the halftime “chat”, coach MATT CAIRNS did not hold back on his comments to the team and this was shown by the much improved Wirral performance in the second half. Within 4 minutes of the second half starting, Wirral were on level terms when after pounding the KL line with a number of thrusts, Keith Mahon
crashed over for his second try close to the posts and converted by James Annetts
KL had chance to take the lead but the penalty opportunity from 38m was missed. Back came Wirral with a sweeping move which ended with Matt Loon
being denied a try as again deemed to be held up over the line. From the resultant 5m scrum, Wirral again had several thrusts at the line before a loose ball was missed by the KL scrum half and was picked up by Rob Pearl
who had a clear 5m run to the posts, again converted by James Annetts
, 29-22 (54 minutes).
On 58 minutes, Ryan Higginson
and Jamie Thompson
came on for Chris Hughes
and Keith Mahon
respectively. Two minutes later a double penalty to Wirral enabled James Annetts
to extend the Wirral lead to 32-22. On 64 minutes, KL had the opportunity to cut the deficit with a penalty some 20m out but KL decided to go for the 7 points when a penalty would have possibly given them a losing bonus point. Chris Hughes
came on for STEVE PENDERGAST- 65 minutes.
The last 14 minutes of the game was played with Wirral in command but unable to add to their score but with the satisfaction of another bonus point win., Wirral continue in 6th place but have made some inroads on the teams above. Next week Wirral are away at Rossendale, where we usually have a good following of Wirral spectators.