Battling Effort Falls Just Short
Sat 6th Feb 2010, 02:15 PM
9 Garstang - Littleborough 12
Garstang put in a superb performance on Saturday but were cruelly denied a win as Littleborough scored a last gasp try to get the result. The excellent showing was of no consolation to the players but they can take great heart from it going into the final third of the season.
The game was a blood and thunder affair with no quarter being asked or given from both sides. Garstang had the better of the opening moments and Rob Charles made good ground as he put up a ‘bomb’ and followed it up before catching it on the full. Rob normally plays at Scrum Half but has recently converted to the number ten role and, following on from this play, he had a superb game.
Despite the early good form precision in the execution let Garstang down and Littleborough were able to use their excellent kicking game to relieve any pressure. They were the first team to be get a scoring opportunity but a wayward kick at goal kept the scores level.
Midway through the half Garstang got the first points as superb forward interplay got them into a decent position. Littleborough’s defence was stretched and they were forced into conceding a penalty, Robinson stepped up and made no mistake as he kicked the goal (3-0).
Garstang followed this up with a period of pressure on the Littleborough line but they failed to retain possession at a crucial moment and the visitors eventually turned the ball over and relieved the pressure.
Just before the break Littleborough were awarded a soft penalty as Garstang gave the referee some backchat. The resultant kick gave ‘Boro a line out five metres out, they won this and went through several phases before they scored in the corner. The conversion was also successful to give Littleborough a 7-3 lead.
In the second half Garstang clawed their way back into the game and they were soon within a point as they gained a penalty following a superb break by Slater. Robinson made the simple kick to put the team within a point (6-7).
Garstang continued to press but they also had to defend and there were some superb efforts on display with Andy Emmott standing out in the defensive line as he made tackle after tackle.
With the game entering the last fifteen minutes Garstang had a sustained period of pressure and they had control of the ball under the posts. Ainsley Pye, at Scrum Half, called John Robinson into the hole, popped the ball back to him and Robinson expertly slotted over the drop goal (I wasn’t expecting that!) which gave Garstang a 9-7 lead.
The expected Littleborough onslaught wasn’t immediately forthcoming but with the clock ticking down they started to crank up the pressure. With five minutes left they put a kick through which Garstang didn’t deal with effectively and Littleborough got a line out in the Garstang twenty two. They won the ball and went through the phases before they did a well worked move which put one of their big men in from close range (9-12).
Following the score Garstang came right back at Littleborough and with time up on the clock they were awarded a penalty within range. It was a tricky kick but, with the way John Robinson has kicked in the past two weeks, was a better than fifty-fifty chance. He elected to go for the goal and attempt to salvage a point. Unfortunately, he pushed the kick the wrong side of the post and the game was over.
As stated earlier, it was a brilliant performance by the team against a side who are fourth in the league. Small margins ultimately cost them the game but if they perform at that level for the rest of the season there is no doubt that they will get the wins required to have another crack at this level next season.
Team: Corless, Barnes, Miller, Orr, Yates, Raby, Slater, Richardson, Pye, Charles, Nickson, Everest, Emmott, Robinson, Winkler. Replacements: Smith, Taylor, Jones.
The Blues had no game but they were knocked off the top of the table as Penrith 3rds won their game. Meanwhile the Lions had a tough afternoon as they went down by 48-10 away against Orrell 2nds.
On Saturday 13th February the 1st XV travel to play league leaders De La Salle (K.O. 14:15). The Blues play BAE Warton and the Lions play Blackpool 2nds in a double header at home with the Blues kicking off at 13:30 and the Lions kicking off at 15:00.