The first game of the month should have been at home to Birkenhead Park. Unfortunately, however, and to everyone’s disappointment, they cried off just 90 minutes before kickoff. This meant that by the time we came up against Lymm on the 15th of November, we had not had a game for over three weeks.
The game against Lymm was always going to be a tough one as they were eager to get revenge for our victory in the home fixture back in September. Unfortunately our injury crisis had not abated. With Joe Murray unavailable and Sam Edgar injured, we were left with no alternative but to play Tom Bills at scrum half rather than in his usual position at fly half. The side had a very makeshift look about it with James Reeve having to play in the centre rather than in his normal back row position. Despite this we put in an excellent performance, particularly in the first half. Unfortunately, however, we were eventually undone by some class play from the Lymm backs. The final score of 29-9 in favour of Lymm did not really reflect the way the game went and our lads could take great heart from their performance.
Next up was Sandbach. It was now our turn to seek revenge. The loss earlier on in the season at Sandbach was one of our most disappointing performances of the season as we threw away a 19 point lead. The injury situation was starting to improve. Although we were still without a recognised scrum half, Jimmy Arnetts was back from injury and, at long last, Will Flaherty was fit enough to make his first appearance of the season. Revenge was duly had as we ran out comfortable winners by 24-7. This was a good all round performance although Jack Quinn took the plaudits with an excellent hat trick of tries.
The final game of the month saw us at home to Ashton on Mersey in the first round of the Cheshire Cup. This was a game that was played in appalling conditions but we still played some excellent running rugby and eventually won 29-7. We now await the second round draw with interest. Our injury crisis is hopefully abating. Unfortunately Harry Broadbent is unlikely to feature until the end of the season but the rest of our casualties appear to be on the way back. In addition, in the new year, we should be strengthened by the return of Lloyd Hayes and Loz Walters as they are released to play by Ellesmere College. The League title is probably now beyond us but there are still 2 cups to play for and we know that, if at full strength, we can give any side a tough game.
In last month’s report I mentioned that Tom Bills and Joe Murray had been selected for the Cheshire Under 18 squad. They each played in all of Cheshire’s games. Joe Murray was then put forward by Cheshire for the North of England trials. Unfortunately Joe did not make the final squad but it was clear from the report that he received that he did impress the selectors and came very close to making the squad.
I would like to mention one special game that we hope to play over the Xmas period. Most of you will be aware of the Fireman who stands in the Lounge. We “won” the Fireman when we beat Northwich whilst on tour in France in May. After the tour we agreed with Northwich that we would play for the Fireman every Xmas as a way of trying to get the lads back together after many of them go off to University. Weather permitting this game will be played on Sunday 27th December and we hope that many of you will come along to watch....more details will appear on the website in due course.
Finally I would like to say a big thank you to all our supporters. We have always had a very committed bunch of parents who rarely miss a game and we are very grateful to them. This season it has been great to see more and more people from the senior club coming along to watch our games. Our next game is this coming Sunday 6th December when we are at home to Penrith so if you are not doing anything else why not come along.
By Graeme Roberts
Colts Manager & Wirral Club Chairman