Per­sis­tence pays off for Stock­port

Stockport Express - - Sport - CLIVE OLD­HAM

AMID a game in­ter­spersed with heavy show­ers, both teams man­aged to pro­duce an en­ter­tain­ing match, even though the con­di­tions prompted plenty of mis­takes.

An early penalty awarded to Manch­ester en­abled them to take the lead, 3-0.

‘Port were strug­gling to break out of their own half dur­ing the first en­coun­ters, mainly due to some good kick­ing from the home side’s No 10.

The first in­cur­sion into Manch­ester’s 22 re­sulted in a good catch and drive, halted by ‘Port knock­ing on.

The vis­i­tors were be­ing caught off­side a lot, cul­mi­nat­ing in a yel­low card for Richard Sackville-West.

Whilst down to 14 men Stock­port con­ceded an un­con­verted try, af­ter a clever cross field kick en­abled Manch­ester’s right winger to touch down, 8-0.

With the half al­most over, ‘Port were awarded a penalty and opted for the kick to the cor­ner.

Another good ‘rum­ble’ from the line out saw Tom Gard­ner score his se­cond try of the sea­son, con­verted by Tom Ea­ton, to make the half time score 8-7.

The se­cond half started sim­i­lar to the first, with the vis­i­tors caught off­side again. Andy McFadden this time pick­ing up a yel­low card for Stock­port.

Manch­ester took the penalty quickly, catch­ing ‘Port un­aware with a se­cond penalty re­sult­ing.

From the kick to the cor­ner, Manch­ester caught and drove which was well de­fended by ‘Port, but the home side re­cy­cled and scored their se­cond try through their im­pres­sive No 12, this time con­verted, 15-7.

All through the game Stock­port’s set scrum had been im­pres­sive, but their line outs had been a bit hit and miss.

As the con­test en­tered the last quar­ter, Stock­port’s game started to come to­gether, helped a lit­tle by a Manch­ester yel­low card for a high tackle on scrum half Duffy.

Dean Schofield made a good break into the home side’s 22 and found Joe Wilson sup­port­ing well to score Stock­port’s se­cond try which re­mained un­con­verted, 15-12.

‘Port were start­ing to ex­ert some con­trol at last and when Kieron Hibbs took a quick free kick, Si­mon Green made a great break, again well sup­ported by Joe Wilson go­ing in for his se­cond try, con­verted by Tom Ea­ton, 15-19.

There were still 10 min­utes left and Manch­ester had not fin­ished.

A short pe­riod of home pres­sure well de­fended by ‘Port, re­sulted with Manch­ester be­ing bun­dled into touch at the cor­ner flag – a close shave!

As play ran into the fi­nal minute, more Stock­port pres­sure caused a mis­take in the home de­fence which Tom Duffy was quick to seize upon, run­ning in for the bonus point try, this time un­con­verted.

In the end a good per­for­mance from ‘Port, who stuck to their game plan through­out and with a lit­tle more pre­ci­sion, could have come away with a more com­fort­able vic­tory. Manch­ester played their part in a good game, both sides show­ing ex­cel­lent spirit.

Tom Ea­ton

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