Injury-hit sidein hard-fought away victory

Garstang Rugby first team captain Ben Kelsall
Garstang Rugby first team captain Ben Kelsall

Mossley Hill 7

Garstang 12

Garstang arrived early and looked to take the game to Mossley and set up camp on their 22, going close on numerous occasions

But with a strong Mossley defence and some indecisiveness Garstang didn’t get the first points of the day.

After 15 minutes Garstang needed to make an early change when prop Martin Hindle took a knock to the leg. Up stepped late replacement Ian Pendlebury.

It was a good pressurised kick from Hill that got Mossley up in to Garstang’s half. With some fine handling and good offloads they scored out wide. Try converted (7-0.)

This seemed to lift the home team who reapplied the pressure straight from the restart going close on a couple of occasions. But Garstang were in no mood to roll over and with captain Ben Kelsall leading the way and some crunching tackles coming in from Greg Billington, Lawson Whittaker and Tom Parkinson.

Garstang kept the home side out and when Stuart Dawson eased the pressure with a fine kick, all fight seemed to leave the home side.

With Garstang down 7-0 at half time and a few harsh but fair words spoken, Garstang went out with new vigour.

Danny Gunn replacing Tom Parkinson so he could receive treatment saw a change into the back row for Craig Johnston and a step up into the second row for Lawson. Garstang found themselves yet again camped in Hill’s 22 and when their number 4 decided to go high yet again the ref decided enough was enough and sent him for a 10 minute rest period.

With Tom feeling spritely again he regained the field for Jake Jolleys and Garstang took the penalty to the corner, and a series of drives ended with the newly refreshed Parkinson going over in the corner. Conversion missed.

With a man down Mossley were fighting hard and some quick turn overs by their ever present hooker saw them with plenty of ball.

Some dynamic running from Gartsang’s John Robbie saw Steve Rowbottom get away and then some quick thinking from the ever impressive Adam Nickson saw James Chaplin make a break before releasing Josh Knowles who impressed on his 1st team debut.

After 55 minutes, Garstang’s last sub, Gavin Barton, entered the fray for an injured Craig Johnston.

With the game in the balance it was Garstang who took the initiative and another break from Robbie and a nice chip and run from Rowbottom drove Garstang up field and onto Hill’s 22 ending in a penalty when a Hill player came in from the side. Unfortunately, Rowbottom picked up a twisted ankle and Hindle came back into the game.

Kelsall decided to go to the corner rather than sticks and another training ground line out came off with a charging run from Dave Miller followed by a pick and drive from Lawson. Ball came out to Dawson who threw the big dummy and popped to McLennan who ran in from 10 yards carrying three players over the line with him.

McLennan resettled himself to slot over the conversion and give Garstang the four valuable points for their first away win of the season.

Man of the Match was Greg Billington who is developing into a real star now that he is having a consistent run of games in the team.

After the game, team manager Mark Walton said: “We have a massive injury list with several frontline players unavailable at the moment. However, the spirit in the team is incredible at the moment and the lads who are coming in are really stepping up to the mark and delivering.”

Garstang: Miller, Johnston, Hindle, Parkinson, Jolleys, Whitaker, Kelsall (Capt), Billington, Nickson, Dawson, Knowles, McLennan, Chaplin, Rowbottom, Robinson. Replacements: Barton, Pendlebury, Gunn

The Blues (2nd XV) were also in action but they suffered a 27-11 defeat despite a spirited second half performance.

On Saturday 28th September the 1st XV don’t have a game but the Blues are in action against Fleetwood 3rds at home, kick off 3pm. It is hoped that two or three members of the 1st XV squad who have been injured or unavailable in recent weeks will be in contention for selection to get them some game time in preparation for league action the following week.

The club are currently running two Senior Men’s teams are we are always on the lookout for new players. For further information about joining the club please email joinus@garstangrugby.com