Improving Garstang’s last-gasp anguish

A big jump ito take the ball at the line out
A big jump ito take the ball at the line out

Garstang............................ 20

Trafford MV....................... 23

Garstang added their name to an illustrious list of teams to suffer a last-gasp defeat on Saturday as they were beaten with the last kick of the game.

Trafford are flying high in the table and have been defeated just once this season, so they came to Garstang expecting a regulation win. However, Garstang are improving by the week and were confident that they could spring an upset.

Garstang’s squad has been strengthened in recent weeks and Ainsley Pye made his first start since he returned to the club, with Pete Duckworth, also on debut, starting on the bench.

Garstang made a perfect start as their big pack got them on the front foot. Within minutes they were camped on the Trafford line and when the ball came back Paul Brown put a kick into the corner. Matt Constant couldn’t take it on the full but he was the first to react when the ball went to ground and he was able to dot down to score the opening try (5-0).

This was a wake-up call for Trafford and they came straight back at Garstang. When Garstang failed to get any decent distance on a clearance kick Trafford launched an attack from the line out and they were able to plunder their first try. The conversion was successful from the touch line (5-7).

At this stage there was nothing between the teams but Garstang got themselves back in the ascendancy with a well-worked line out play. They got to within ten metres of the Trafford line with a line out, the ball was collected at the front by John O’Brien before the forwards put on the shove. The ball was then worked to the back and Greg Billington was the man in possession as the ball was put down over the line for the score (10-7).

Within moments of the restart Trafford received a penalty and levelled the scores at 10-10.

Small mistakes and ill-discipline started to cost Garstang and this culminated in Stuart Dawson getting a yellow card for being offside. The penalty count against was way too high and when Trafford scored their next try it had seemed inevitable (10-17).

Garstang dug deep and got themselves possession in the right half of the field.

Billington came up with his second try of the afternoon but unfortunately, the conversion was again wide leaving a narrow 17-15 deficit with 10 minutes to play. The team had the ascendancy and there was a belief that the win was there for the taking and it was Matt Constant who made a thrilling break down the right wing before feeding the ball to Luke Ford, he took the ball on before being tackled, the supporting players got quick ball and the ball was spread to the opposite wing where Ainsley Pye was able to race in and scramble over in the corner (20-17).

Garstang were left frustrated when the referee awarded Trafford a penalty under the posts. The kicker made no mistake and the scores were tied at 20-20.

But it was Trafford who were afforded one last attack. They took the ball into midfield in a relatively innocuous position but the referee deemed that Garstang had offended and awarded them a penalty on halfway. The Trafford player elected to go for goal, he struck it beautifully and the ball sailed through the uprights to give the visitors the victory.

Garstang: Miller, Gunn, Whitaker, O’Brien, Orr, Billington, Slater (C), Ford, Brown, Dawson, Rowbottom, McLennan, Pye, Constant, Nickson. Replacements: Kelsall, Duckworth, Rogerson.