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1st XV - Match centre

R Pearl
J Annetts
Penalty Try
Sat 9 Feb 14:15 - Northern Division - North Premier Full time

Wirral Pack Push to Victory at Rossendale


A windy day at Marl Pits produces a tight game where the forwards won it for Wirral.

Despite last week’s cup game being cancelled against Park due to the frost, there were a number of changes to the team for the game at Rossendale. With JAMES REEVE ill, DAN LIGHT and JOE MURRAY unavailable due to work commitments plus there were a number of positional changes. MATT DALTON was moved to blindside and Ryan Stead came into the second row. The backs were: 15. James Annetts 14. DAN HARVEY 13. Chris Speed 12. Sam Broadbent 11. Matt Loon 10. Craig Harvey 9. Chris Crowley. The subs were Mike Warren, HAYDN LONG and James Adams.
Notwithstanding the rain during the week we encountered rain on route but on arrival it had stopped but we were faced with a very strong wind which for those who know Rossendale was blowing up the field. Wirral lost the toss and were faced with playing downhill in the first half on a slope which the home side says “is a 20 point advantage!”
Immediately, Rossendale made a break and only a last ditch tackle by James Annetts prevented the home side scoring. From the first scrum it was apparent that Wirral had an advantage as they pushed their opposite numbers back an aspect that was to prove vital in this match. A line out steal by Rob Pearl saw Wirral make ground downfield to the half way line as kicking into the wind was bringing no advantages at all.
In the 14th minute, Rossendale took the lead when from a line out the ball was quickly passed down the backs and a long pass enabled right winger, Matt Blackman to score in the corner, the try was not converted. 5-0 (14 mins). The wind was having quite an effect on the game as any loose ball allowed Rossendale to make long kicks to touch in the Wirral half. Rossendale were enjoying the territorial and possession advantage but the Wirral defence were holding firm especially when defending in their 20m area. In the minutes before half time the ball came down the Wirral back line which ended with Matt Loon being tackled short of the line, several thrusts later ended with Jack Yarker being deemed as being held up over the line. From the resultant scrum Wirral edged forward only for the scrum to be reset and on the second occasion the pack rumbled over the line with Rob Pearl being awarded the touchdown. 10m from the touchline the try was converted by James Annetts to leave the score at half time 5-7.
Playing uphill was easier with the benefit of the wind behind. Wirral had much of the territory and were creating chances, Tom Parry with a neat kick through forced a 5m line out whilst on the right wing; James Annetts was in the act of scoring when tackled from behind forcing the ball to be knocked forward. Wirral during this period had a number of chances to score but strong defending prevented them from adding to their total. Rossendale only having rare excursions into the Wirral half and on regaining the ball kicked long back in to the home half. On 67 minutes such a kick left Rossendale unable to clear any meaningful distance which led to a succession of scrums which enabled Wirral to make some metres only for the home side to infringe, after 3 scrums, the last been collapsed left the referee with no alternative other than to award Wirral a penalty try. 5-14. HAYDN LONG came on for Paul Lewis.
Rossendale came back in the final 10 minutes and a kick through nearly resulted in a score only for Wirral to win the race to touch down. On 75 minutes, Rob Pearl came off with a knee injury and only time will tell on how bad this is. He was replaced by the spritely Mike Warren. The Rossendale resurgence continued with the hooker, Jacob Sutton making a clean break from 20m out and it seemed inevitable that he would score but a great covering tackle by Chris Crowley under the posts prevented a score, however the referee came back for an earlier infringement and Rossendale took the penalty seeking at worst a losing bonus point and converted by Lewis Allen, 8-14. Referee advised 2 minutes to go. Wirral then proceeded to kick off direct in to touch giving Rossendale advantage on the half way however Wirral recovered and were awarded a penalty 56 m out. James Annetts attempted the kick which fell short and with Rossendale having to keep ball in hand were thwarted at the first tackle when the ball was knocked forward and the referee blew for time.
Wirral had the better opportunities to score but to come to Rossendale who are lying in 7th and come away with a victory was a good result for the coach and the team given the changes made and positional alterations to the side. Wirral remain in 5th with all the teams above them also winning except Billingham. Next week Wirral are away at ILKLEY where they will be looking to seek revenge for the defeat at home earlier in the season.
Richard McNeil

Key moments

Try Rob Pearl scores for Wirral
Conversion James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral


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75:00 Sub On
Mike Warren is substituted on for Wirral
75:00 Sub Off
Rob Pearl is substituted off for Wirral
67:00 Penalty Try
Penalty try awarded to Wirral
67:00 Sub Off
Paul Lewis is substituted off for Wirral
67:00 Sub On
Hayden Long is substituted on for Wirral
End of period 1
37:00 Try 0 - 5
Rob Pearl scores for Wirral
37:00 Conversion 0 - 7
James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Rossendale
  • Wirral
  • 0
  • Rob Pearl Try 37:00'
  • James Annetts Conversion 37:00'
  • Penalty Try 67:00'
  • Paul Lewis Sub Off 67:00'
  • Hayden Long Sub On 67:00'
  • Mike Warren Sub On 75:00'
  • Rob Pearl Sub Off 75:00'

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other North Premier results

Kirkby Lonsdale


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Hull 26 118
2. Blaydon 26 99
3. Harrogate 26 98
4. Billingham 26 89
5. Rossendale 26 72
6. Sandal 26 70
7. Wirral 26 69

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