Greens edge win late on
SATURDAY’S short trip up the road to Wigan provided the spectators with an afternoon of rip roaring, high voltage, fast moving, open and flowing rock n roll rugby.
This was the fourth match of the season for both sides, Ormskirk having won two and lost one while the hosts had won all three of their matches.
With all to play for, the two sides quickly settled into the match with Wigan providing the majority of the early thrust, with phase after phase of play hammering the Ormskirk defence through the forwards and across the backs.
Big defensive efforts from forwards Steve Rouke, Greg Dykes, Matthew Faulkner, Kieran DentonWilliams and Aaron Ferry constantly foiled their big opponents early in play while the harrying of Ball, Speke and Millington dealt with any loose passages.
Wigan quickly got back to pressuring the Ormskirk line and eventually the constant hammering took its toll and the green line was breached by a fine try out wide which was well converted by the Wigan stand off.
Following a couple of brief Ormskirk forays into the Wigan half, the home side moved downfield through a series of passages of play which resulted in a penalty following infringements by the Greens defence. The kick was sweetly slotted over to give the home side a confidence boosting 10-0 advantage.
Play was at the Ormskirk end of the pitch before passages of play involving skipper Michael Knowles, Danny Unsworth, David Webster, James Lang and Liam Thompson saw play move to the Wigan line and the impressive Rouke proving too difficult to stop for the Wigan defence, which was clearly rattled by the speed and effectiveness of the Ormskirk attack.
Matthew White watched as his conversion attempt sailed wide and leaving a five point deficit to chase.
The five point deficit soon became ten points as Wigan again crossed the Ormskirk line following a period of relentless pressure, the conversion attempt sailing wide.
The second half began and continued in a quite different manner to the first period, with periods of fast and open rugby displayed in turn by both sides along with high quality defensive performances.
The fast running Ormskirk backs and forwards, supported by big pack performances from Rouke, Ferry, Speke, Faulkner and the difficult to manage Denton-Williams put the home side under constant pressure, leading to lapses in discipline and consequent free kicks and penalties, two penalties being easily slotted over by the hard working White to reduce the deficit to 15-11.
Matthew White banged the ball over the crossbar to give the Greens what proved to be an unassailable 21-20 lead with just a few minutes of the match remaining.
WHILST all the title contenders continue to beat each other up, it is West End Park that is capitalising on this opportunity and now lead the top division in week three of the Master Lock & Safe Southport and District Badminton League.
Their impressive 6-2 away win against Southport’s first team moves them to the top of the first division with three wins without loss.
But with all of the main contenders still yet to meet West End Park, it may be a short stay at the top for them.
Meanwhile, Churchtown dropped their first points of the season as they were only able to collect a losing draw against Woodvale.
While Churchtown were winning most of their matches in three sets, Woodvale were taking almost all of theirs in two comfortable sets.
Those narrow defeats ended up being the key in giving Woodvale the extra point as they won more sets during their thrilling encounter.
That result keeps them within reach of another possible title challenge.
Also keeping their hat in the ring were Victoria Hall, as they produced an absolute 8-0 demolition of their second team.
The battle for the drop in the first division is almost as important as the fight for the league title.
In a battle between two sides likely to be involved in the bottom half saw Churchtown’s second team collect a valuable winning draw against Woodvale II.
That result gives Churchtown II their first points of the season and moves them out of the bottom two, which is currently occupied by Victoria Hall II and Southsands’ first team.
Controlling the fourth division continues to be Mawdesley IV and Southport IV as they extend their 100 per cent winning record.
While Mawdesley produced a white-wash 8-0 win over bottom side West End Park III, Southport cruised to a 6-2 win against Southsands III.
After a perfect start in the mixed doubles, that was enough for them to coast to the finish, and despite the best efforts of Southsands, Southport secured the win to move to three wins without loss for the season so far.
Narrowly behind the leaders are Churchtown IV.
After a slight setback, Churchtown responded well by battling through to defeat Woodvale’s sixth team 5-3.
Wins in both of the women’s doubles encounters proved to be the deciding factor in Churchtown’s win to help them keep up the division leaders.
Elsewhere, Woodvale V produced a strong finish in their 5-3 win against Ormskirk III.
Three consecutive straight set wins saw Woodvale turn the result around and saw them collect their second win of the season and jump up the table into the top half.
Also coming out victorious were Formby II over St. Cuthberts II. In a match where a win would give either side their first points of the season, the pre-match stakes were pretty high.
In the end, it was the home side that took the day as they defeated St. Cuthberts’ second team 6-2.
Division two saw both Ormskirk and Tarleton extended to three wins without defeat.
While Tarleton comfortably saw off Southport’s third team 6-2, it was a much tighter affair for Ormskirk.
Despite Ormskirk moving into an early 3-1 lead after the mixed doubles, Woodvale III showed a lot of fight and narrowed the deficit for an exciting finish to the encounter.
In the end, the strength at the top of Ormskirk’s team was enough to take a 5-3 win.
There was a similar outcome for Mawdesley II as they fought hard to collect a 5-3 win against Formby’s first team.
In a battle between two first team sides, Burscough Pioneers produced quite the comeback in their winning draw with Hesketh Bank.
After missing out on a couple of wins in the mixed doubles, Burscough were going into the men’s and women’s doubles 3-1 down.
But a strong showing after that saw Burscough not only level the contest but take the extra point as they won more sets than their opponents during the evening’s proceedings.
In the fifth division, Woodvale VII continue their momentum from last season and produce a valuable 5-3 win over Hesketh Bank II.
After being promoted from the sixth division last season, Woodvale’s seventh team are already showing signs of intentions of matching that achievement in consecutive seasons.
One point behind the leaders are St. Cuthberts III, after their 6-2 win against Southport VI.
St. Cuthberts look to be a huge threat for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, Tarleton IV put in a strong start to their match against Formby Methodist and eventually took a well-deserved 7-1 away win.
With a couple of results yet to be confirmed, Churchtown III have for the moment moved to the top of the third division.
Despite most of their matches going to three sets, Churchtown showed a lot of nerve and managed to defeat Burscough Pioneers’ second team 7-1.
Just behind is Tarleton II, who managed to avoid an upset and defeat their own third team by the narrowest of 5-3 scorelines.
With the second of the two women’s doubles left to be completed, it ended seeing Linda Keys and Anne Rawlinson edge their higher ranked team over the line in a 21-15, 15-21, 23-21 win over their fellow clubmates Audrey McGing and Bev Wookey.
Another 5-3 winner was Ormskirk II. Despite a comeback attempt by opponents Woodvale IV, Ormskirk managed to do enough to take all the points.
It was a near perfect display for Churchtown V, as they continue to be top of the sixth division.
A dominant 7-1 win over strugglers St. Cuthberts IV now makes it three wins without loss.
But with matches against fellow unbeaten sides Southsands IV and Crosby II scheduled in the next few weeks, thoughts of promotion are not quite on Churchtown’s minds just yet.
Elsewhere, Woodvale VIII got their first win of the season after producing a terrific performance to take down Southport’s eighth team 8-0.
Another side finding their first points of the season is Burscough Pioneers IV.
After a strong start in the mixed doubles, they managed to hold on in the end to a 5-3 away win at Southport VII.
The only completed result in the seventh division this week came at Southsands, where their fifth team collected their first points of the season in a winning draw over Formby III.
Anytime Formby took a lead in the contest, Southsands instantly responded to keep level with their opponents.
In the end, Southsands’ dominant wins lower down in the match schedule was the key in getting that extra point.
For more info as well as the latest news, results and league tables, be sure to check out the league’s official website, www.southportbadminton. com. Also, make sure you like the league’s official Facebook page.