Ormskirk in the fast lane to leave Eagle well beaten
BY VINCE ELLIS
SATURDAY saw Ormskirk welcome opponents from Warrington, Eagle RUFC for what was a much anticipated renewal of old rivalries - last seasons league matches ending with the spoils shared, each side winning by a single point in their respective away fixtures.
Eagle were also the opponents of Ormskirk during the end of season cup final which resulted in an emphatic win for ‘Kirk.
This season, however, sees the clubs joined together in the newly formed Lancashire League and each with a number of changes in playing personnel from the sides of last season.
So as well as the meeting being much anticipated, it was also intriguing to see how the old foes would fare against each other and whether the match would to be as physical and tactically challenging as some of the more recent, feisty, matches have been.
To add to the occasion, Ormskirk are currently enjoying a position at the top of the table, having won four of the previous five matches, while Eagle have still to find the form which they enjoyed last season and are currently at the lower end of the table.
The club are also currently on an additional high following the selections of club captain Michael Knowles and vice captain Aaron Ferry to represent Lancashire in upcoming fixtures, a fine and fitting testament to both players and to all the progressive work which is going on at Ormskirk RUFC.
Ormskirk’s greatest assets so far this season have been the defensive resilience and attacking flair which has resulted in a high number of tries scored and a low number conceded, both aspects becoming apparent in the first few minutes of the match when winger Dave Webster won a race to the ball to open the ‘Kirk account in the first minute with a fine touchdown under pressure from a number of Eagle defenders.
The chatter behind the posts when waiting for the conversion attempt made it clear Eagle were determined to get straight back into the match, clearly confident the home side were there for the taking.
And from the kick off they set about trying to put their intentions into practice with wave after wave of attack, hammering away at the Ormskirk defence which didn’t ever really seem to be troubled as each effort was met with the stone wall put in place by Ferry, Ball, Rouke, Hudson and the other formidable members of the pack. The huge efforts without reward began to tell as Eagle became more and more frustrated, their agitation resulting in a number of lapses of discipline and consequent ground making free kicks for the home side. Ormskirk, with their confidence having been boosted by the defensive effort and tackle busting runs of Denton-Williams, Arrowsmith, Knowles and Hodson along with the silky ball playing skills of Rouke were clearly intent on capitalising on the disarray creeping into the visitors’ defensive line and tries soon began to flow as Knowles (twice), White, Rouke and Owens all crossed the whitewash.
Along with a number of successful conversions from the boot of White, the men in green quickly racked up a healthy 38-0 scoreline to take into the halftime break.
With what, realistically, was an unassailable mid match scoreline, the great danger for the home side was complacency and for the visitors, capitulation.
To the great credit of both sides, neither occurred as Eagle continued to play with the same kind of effort and physical intimidation as during the first half, launching a series of open running attacks at the Ormskirk line, which again showed all the formidable qualities which have been trademarks during this season.
Again, the unrewarded attacking efforts from the visitors allowed the home forwards to clear their defensive lines with big runs from Ferry, Arrowsmith, Hudson, Rouke and Millington creating gaps in the Eagle defensive line for the fast moving Ormskirk backs to exploit at an alarming rate.
The introduction of forwards Matt Faulkner and Joe Rivers added a combination of defensive power and attacking zest to the Ormskirk side and as further visitor efforts were beaten back and home ground gained, the beleaguered visitors might have been praying for an early end to proceedings as further tries from White (two), Smith, Evans and Rivers (two), combined with a number of successful conversions from Matty White racked up a final score of 85-0 for Ormskirk.
What the scoreline does not convey is the physical nature of the match which was characterised by hard running open play, big hits and a determination shown by both sides to keep play open and to go for points.
Scorelines of this nature are not commonplace and the task for the coaching staff ahead of next week’s visit to Clitheroe will be to have the players recognise all the quality, good aspects of this match and take those same attitudes up to Clitheroe, while recognising what a tough fixture this is going to be.
Ormskirk RUFC field a range of teams, Minis, Juniors and Colts along with open age Mens and Ladies teams.
We are always welcoming to potential new players, supporters and sponsors so do feel free to pop down and have a look around.
See you down there.
Ormskirk on the break against EagleFrank Roberts (centre)