Ri­vals cut loose

Rochdale Observer - - LEISURE GARDENING FOOD WINE - HARRY HAN­SON & AARON JONES

SEC­OND-IN-THETABLE West Park proved too strong for the chal­lenge of Lit­tle­bor­ough at Rake­wood on Satur­day.

The home side stayed with the op­po­si­tion dur­ing a close first half but were un­able to hang onto their coat­tails after the in­ter­val, de­spite kick­ing down the slight slope.

Boro found them­selves up in the vis­i­tors 22 me­tres within a cou­ple of min­utes of kick off and were awarded a penalty which was well con­verted by Nathan Coop in what was a fine start for the home side.

Con­fi­dence boosted by the early score, Boro ap­plied fur­ther pres­sure on the vis­i­tors via the wings and were awarded a fur­ther penalty, which was again suc­cess­fully kicked by Nathan Coop to put the hosts 6-0 up within ten min­utes.

A good kick to touch by Andy Wal­ton was fol­lowed by a pe­riod of pres­sure from the vis­i­tors and it fell to Boro to once again kick to touch to re­lieve the pres­sure.

At the end of the first quar­ter the vis­it­ing team ob­tained the ball and ran well with it in their three­quar­ters to score the game’s first try, which they also con­verted to take the lead.

The home side, via Coop, hit back, gain­ing their third penalty to once again take the lead.

Un­for­tu­nately, Boro suf­fered through lack of ball pos­s­e­sion and lost their ad­van­tage when the vis­i­tors con­verted a penalty. Again, con­stant pres­sure on Boro in their own 22 me­tres area, which they had suf­fered since the early few min­utes of the match, meant they were con­stantly on the back foot and the vis­i­tors gained a fur­ther penalty dur­ing this pe­riod.

Close to half time, Mathew Goldthorpe put in a good at­tack­ing run, fol­lowed by strong de­fence by Boro near their own try­line sav­ing at least a cou­ple of tries and keepng the half time score to 9-13 in West Park’s favour.

In the sec­ond half Boro were run­ning down the slight slope and took play to op­po­si­tion, through Mathew Goldthorpe – but a penalty awarded to vis­i­tors took them up­field for a throw-in and a break­away from the li­ne­out gained them their sec­ond try.

Boro started to make player changes which co­in­cided with a fur­ther suc­cess­ful penalty from man of the match Coop.

Good play by Chris Kol­buck had Boro on the front foot un­til the ball was spilled to the vis­i­tors in Boro’s 10 me­tres area and the op­po­si­tion then broke away and ran the length of the pitch for their third con­verted try to stretch the lead.

Boro’s wing de­fence then let them down and their vis­i­tors crossed the line again for their fourth try, fol­lowed by con­ver­sion.

Con­tin­ual pres­sure from vis­i­tors kept play in Boro’s half un­til the fi­nal whis­tle.

As ex­pected, Boro are find­ing the new league rather tough com­pared to pre­vi­ous sea­sons and they need to look at their train­ing method to see if any changes could be made to help on match days.

Mean­while, Vale of Lune were the hosts for the Un­der 13s.

A tale of a hill and two halves reg­is­tered a hard fought first half with Boro run­ning against the slope.

But the score­line read five tries to nil in favour of the home side.

Boro U13s had spent a large chunk of the first half camped on the Vale line but couldn’t make their dom­i­nance count as each time they came away empty handed; ba­sic han­dling er­rors their down­fall.

A sec­ond half down the hill and few changes on the turf saw the vis­i­tors fi­nally find their rhythm as they ran in three tries to the sin­gle score for Vale of Lune.

Brody Bax­ter picked up from where he left off last week with two of the three tries for the team, while Joe Dee­gan also found the white­wash.

De­bun­tant Harry Rat­cliffe took the award for Man of the Match for the Boro side as Billy Blake came as close sec­ond.

A spe­cial men­tion also goes out to Asahd Nawaz on his first ever game in the black, green and yel­low of Lit­tle­bor­ough, mak­ing good yards with ball in hand.

A score­line of Vale of Lune 30 Lit­tle­bor­ough 15 demon­strates how this is a big learn­ing curve this sea­son with five new­bies in the squad.

Mak­ing the trip over the Pen­nines, Lit­tle­bor­ough’s Un­der 15 girls were the guests of hon­our at Broom­field Av­enue as they went up against well drilled Old Cross­leyans side.

The vis­i­tors started slow and were caught nap­ping in con­cen­tra­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion as it led to a try al­most in­stantly by the Hal­i­fax-based Old Cross­leyans and they kept com­ing.

Boro just hadn’t wo­ken up and this showed by the lack of width in the de­fen­sive lines, which the home side were keen to take ad­van­tage of. Some amaz­ing tack­ling from Court­ney Mills saw the cap­tain push back the op­po­si­tion with some smash­ing big tack­les, Kirsty Bella do­ing the same. Full back Ge­or­gia Cross­ley was busy mar­shalling the troops and even played her part in a num­ber of rucks as her team mate at num­ber 8 El­lie Fitzger­ald tried to re­gain the for­wards com­po­sure but Old Crocs were break­ing through.

Then, out­side cen­tre Amy Per­ren blasted through a gap into space to score a cracker of try be­fore she quickly made it a brace with an­other.

An un­for­tu­nate in­jury saw pack leader Fitzger­ald leave the field in the sec­ond half with the role taken on by Tilly Robin­son-Burgess who did an ad­mirable job with lots of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Things went from bad to worse as tal­is­manic Court­ney Mills went off in­jured with scrum half Kiera Board­man be­ing handed the hon­our of cap­tain­ing her side with great pride.

In the end score­board re­flected poorly on the vis­i­tors but it was not for the want of ef­fort and per­sis­tence nev­er­gave up. Kirsty Bella and Amy Per­ren were rightly sin­gled out for praise on a dif­fi­cult af­ter­noon for the Un­der 15 Girls.

Barry Hob­son

Ben Irvin was back to tow­er­ing fit­ness for Lit­tle­bor­ough against West Park

Barry Hob­son

Ge­orge Roberts added some dash to the Lit­tle­bor­ough mid­field

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