North Lancs One
Didsbury Toc-H 22-10 Garstang
From the kick off Didsbury got on top of things as they did a cheeky reverse kick which Garstang were not alert to and it immediately left them with great field position. Garstang lost the line out and never got themselves out of their own half as Didsbury ran some sharp lines, with precision and intent, and they scored the opening try with just a few minutes on the clock (5-0).
An inevitable second try came and Didsbury were 12-0 up before the men in blue had had any real possession.
Tempers were getting frayed but Garstang needed to realise that they were still in it as Didsbury would not be able to retain the intensity of the opening ten minutes for the duration of the game. That did prove to be the case but not before Garstang had gifted them two more tries. Firstly, a poor exit from a line out in their own half saw a Garstang clearance charged down for a soft try and then, on the stroke of half time, poor decision making and a simple spilled ball in their own twenty two allowed Didsbury to score a bonus point try with embarrassing ease (22-0).
At this point things looked bleak for Garstang with the players bickering and the scoreboard against them. However, mature words from Captain Ben Kelsall, and Coach Gavin Barton at the interval calmed the players down and challenged them to front up in the second half.
From the start of the second period Garstang looked more like a team and they immediately began to right the wrongs of that first period. Within minutes Garstang had a line out five metres out and a great driving maul saw them take the ball over the line and score a try through John O’ Brien (22-5).
Garstang continued to build the pressure but were frustrated as they could not get the next try which would have perhaps have given them an outside chance of a result. They were hampered even further when they lost key player John O’Brien to the sin-bin for ten minutes following an act of petulance.
Despite this and, with the clock ticking down and probably nothing more to play for other than pride, Garstang conjured up another chance and Jimmy McLennan crashed over from close range to reduce the arrears to 22-10.
With a couple of minutes to play, and restored to a full complement, Garstang had their tails up and sensed that they may even sneak an unlikely losing bonus point for being within seven points. Unfortunately, it was too little too late and Garstang finished up with nothing after leaving themselves with too much to do.
Team: Miller, Johnston, Whitaker, Everest, Billington, Slater, Kelsall (C), O’Brien, Barton, Dawson, Smeaton, Mclennan, Robinson, Dugdale, Davies. Replacements: Tissingh, Haley.
The Blues game against Clitheroe 2nds was called off at the last minute due to snow.
The 1st XV now have two blank weekends which will allow the Blues to take centre stage at Hudson Park during that period. On Saturday the team are in cup action as they take on Lymm 4ths in the Third Round of the BEST Shield. With a place in the Quarter Finals up for grabs it promises to be a great game, KO 14:15.