Heroic effort but game ends with last-gasp heartbreak

Ben Kelsall taking the ball in before scoring Garstang's opening try.
Ben Kelsall taking the ball in before scoring Garstang's opening try.
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garstang.......................... 21

ashton-under-lyme....... 21

A great Garstang comeback was overshadowed by a last minute conversion from Ashton-Under-Lyme to draw 21-21.

Garstang started badly, Miller was sin-binned for ten minutes and they conceded two penalties which were converted within the first five minutes to make it 6-0.

The team were very briefly down to 13 men – as Tom Parkinson joined the sin-bin – during this they conceded the opening try of the game to put the visitors 11-0 up.

Coach Barton was not enjoying what he saw and took decisive action by bringing himself and Richard Orr onto the field in place of Lawson Whitaker and Craig Johnston.

The experienced duo made a big difference and Garstang, at last, started to enjoy some possession in decent field position.

Garstang got themselves on the scoreboard with a simple try on 30 minutes, they were awarded a penalty five metres out Barton took the quick tap to Kelsall who breached the defence and stretched out to score 11-5.

Garstang then made a mess of the restart and immediately conceded a penalty which Ashton kicked to extend the lead to 14-5.

When the visitors tried to kick clear Chaplin charged the ball down and managed to catch it in one movement, he passed onto Kelsall who ran through and released Slater who went in at the corner to score 14-10.

There was time for one more play before the half time break and Garstang forced the tiring Ashton pack into conceding a penalty. Jimmy McLennan opted to take the kick at goal despite the long range into the wind and he was proved right as he made no mistake to close the gap to one point at the interval 14-13.

Garstang scored the try of the afternoon after the break, a good ball from a line out was passed out wide to Constant who was able to round his man and speed in to the corner to put them in front for the first time 18-14.

With ten minutes to play Garstang kicked a penalty to extend the lead to 21-14.

When Garstang were awarded a penalty deep into injury time it looked like they had seen off any danger, but they missed the clearing kick and then spilled the return in midfield.

Ashton had one last play and they put the Garstang line under massive pressure, initial heroic defending kept them out but they eventually managed to squeeze the ball over the line to score under the posts.

The conversion was successful to level the score 21-21 with the last kick of the game.

Team: Miller, Johnston, Raby, Parkinson, Whitaker, Slater (captain), Kelsall, Billington, Nickson, Dawson, Knowles, Mclennan, Chaplin, Constant, Ford. Replacements: Orr, Barton, Rogerson

The Blues were also in action and they played Ormskirk 2nds but they were beaten 34-14 in Division Four North West.

On Saturday October 19, the 1st XV have no game but the Blues are in action away to Leigh 4ths, KO 3pm.