Greens made to graft as Manch­ester are sub­dued

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life - ORM­SKIRK .......................................... 45 MANCH­ESTER .................................... 12

BY VINCE EL­LIS

WITH back to back high scor­ing wins in the bag, Orm­skirk’s con­fi­dence was at a high for the visit of North Manch­ester to Green Lane last Satur­day.

Never a push over, the vis­i­tors had been a thorn in Orm­skirk’s side in pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters, so it was a game not to be taken lightly.

From the out­set Manch­ester were on the front foot, us­ing their large set of for­wards to try and cre­ate gaps in the home de­fences.

Orm­skirk were up to the task and ini­tially con­tained these force­ful drives to the vis­i­tors’ own half but grad­u­ally they gave up ground by com­mit­ting penal­ties at the rucks.

Orm­skirk slowly came to grips with this Manch­ester high en­ergy open­ing pe­riod and de­spite be­ing on the back foot in the set scrum they won enough ball to make their way up field.

Cleanly won li­ne­out ball by Orm­skirk was moved through their own for­wards for a num­ber of phases, when num­ber eight Lee Ar­row­smith broke through the de­fen­sive tack­les and strode un­op­posed to the line for the open­ing score, con­verted by Tom Owens.

Against the run of play, this was a sur­prise 7-0 lead for the home side as the ma­jor­ity of play had been in Manch­ester hands.

An Orm­skirk scrum fol­low­ing the kick off was lost as the home pack was driven back­wards al­low­ing the Manch­ester scrum half to pick up and race clear.

Good de­fen­sive tack­ling stopped him short of the line in the cor­ner, but Manch­ester were now on a roll.

Their for­wards drove hard with good ruck­ing and quick ball which put the Orm­skirk de­fences un­der great pres­sure, but as in past games their line held firm.

Manch­ester’s frus­tra­tion at not be­ing able to turn their pres­sure into points saw them give penal­ties away at the ruck area al­low­ing Orm­skirk to kick their way up field.

Once into Manch­ester’s 22 area Orm­skirk’s for­wards made suc­ces­sive drives for the line but the vis­i­tors’ de­fence was just as stub­born and re­fused to give way, hold­ing the ball up over the line.

The ball won at the re­sult­ing five me­tre scrum was again taken up by the for­wards and again they were kept out.

Suf­fi­cient de­fend­ers had been

drawn in to leave gaps out wide which skip­per Mike Knowles ex­ploited for an un­con­verted try in the left cor­ner.

With enough ball, Orm­skirk had the fire power in the back line to pun­ish the vis­i­tors but Manch­ester were mak­ing life dif­fi­cult by us­ing their for­wards as their main of­fen­sive play and not giv­ing the ball up eas­ily.

A turn over ball in the tackle by Orm­skirk was moved quickly through hands for winger James Lang to make a break, cut­ting in­side the de­fences.

Although even­tu­ally tack­led, quick re­cy­cled ball reached Owens to burst clear, score un­der the posts, and then con­vert his own try.

The score­line of 19-0 did not re­flect the way the game had gone, Manch­ester’s dis­play de­served more and they were still in with a shout.

De­ter­mined driv­ing forced Orm­skirk back into their 22 and Manch­ester were awarded a scrum ten me­tres out.

Their su­pe­ri­or­ity at the set scrum was fi­nally re­warded as Orm­skirk were driven back­wards to­wards their own line, only the scrum col­laps­ing stopped the move.

The ref­eree pe­nalised Orm­skirk for the col­lapse and awarded a well de­served penalty try to the vis­i­tors, this 19-7 score bring­ing up the in­ter­val.

The restart saw Orm­skirk de­ter­mined to put the game to bed, but over ea­ger­ness brought mis­takes which al­lowed Manch­ester to stay in the game.

At the scrum­mage Manch­ester were still over­pow­er­ing the home side and as they were driven off their own ball, the Orm­skirk de­fen­sive line, on the back foot, was breached al­low­ing the vis­i­tors a sec­ond score in the cor­ner.

At 19-12 Manch­ester were back in the game and the home side needed to dig deep to stay ahead, yet knew that they only needed good at­tack­ing ball to in­crease their lead.

Over­turn­ing a ball in their own half they quickly turned de­fence into at­tack, mov­ing the ball wide right through hands the try line was beg­ging only for the fi­nal pass to go astray.

At the scrum Manch­ester tried to kick clear only for the ball to be charged down.

Orm­skirk re­cov­ered the ball and the for­ward’s drive to the line re­sulted in Steve Rouke go­ing over for the bonus point fourth try con­verted by Tom Owens.

Orm­skirk be­gan to gain as­cen­dancy in the play as their su­pe­rior back play be­gan to make large in­roads into a tir­ing Manch­ester de­fen­sive line.

A pick up from the base of the scrum by Lloyd Jones took the ball from his own 22 to within 20 me­tres of the vis­i­tors’ line, re­cy­cled ball reached Jake Hod­son’s hands only for him to be tap tack­led short of the score.

Not to be de­nied, Orm­skirk won scrum ball and Jones again made the im­pact with a try from a pick at the base, 31-12.

The Manch­ester for­wards were still able to gain ground and push Orm­skirk back but their threat was now be­ing con­tained and Orm­skirk were able to launch counter at­tack­ing moves from their own half.

Scrum ball was moved to the blind­side for winger Alex Gaughan to break away, draw the op­po­si­tion and pass in­side al­low­ing Jake Hod­son to ghost in un­der the sticks, 38-12 af­ter the Owens con­ver­sion.

Straight from the restart Orm­skirk com­pleted a copy of the pre­vi­ous try with the ball reach­ing Alex Gaughan, again draw­ing the de­fender he linked with Jake Hod­son for his sec­ond con­verted try and the last score of the game.

The 45-12 fi­nal score did flat­ter the home side slightly as Manch­ester were in with a shout for 75 min­utes of the game.

There is now a break from League games un­til the first week in De­cem­ber, but next Satur­day Orm­skirk take on ei­ther New­ton-le-Willows or Birch­field in the sec­ond round of the Alan Stone Lan­cashire Bowl.

Vince El­lis

Orm­skirk in ac­tion dur­ing the win over Manch­ester

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