North Lancs One
Garstang 23 Didsbury Toc-H 20
Garstang finally found a way to come out on the right side of the scoreboard in a close encounter when they secured a thrilling victory on Saturday.
The game started at a blistering pace and Garstang nearly scored from the off as Player/Coach Gavin Barton, making a rare start at hooker, cut through the static defence before releasing the ball to John O’Brien.
The move broke down but it was a clear sign of Garstang’s intent for the afternoon.
Another break was made through the midfield by Luke Richmond and he looked as though he had scored a try only for the referee to deem that he had been held up over the line.
At this stage the game had been dominated by Garstang and they at last got themselves on the scoreboard as John O’Brien broke through the defence and smartly offloaded to Gavin Barton who scored the try (5-0).
From the restart Didsbury had their first meaningful attack and they were rewarded with the equalising try as the ball was smartly moved down the back line to allow their winger to score in the corner (5-5).
Garstang came right back at them and they got their second try of the afternoon when young home debutant Joel Dugdale picked a neat line in the backs and went over to score under the posts. John Robinson added the conversion to extend the lead to 12-5.
With the half time interval approaching Garstang’s intensity dropped off a touch and they conceded two quick tries to send them into the break facing a 15-12 deficit despite a strong first half showing.
In the second period defences tightened up and try scoring opportunities became fewer.
Garstang were still asking the questions but they had to be satisfied with two penalties by John Robinson which enabled them to retake the lead at 18-15.
Didsbury refused to go away and with fifteen to play they retook the lead as they scored their fourth try of the afternoon to lead by 20-18.
With the clock ticking down it looked as if Garstang were going to suffer another close defeat but this week they were not going to be denied as they scored a great winning try with four minutes remaining.
The ball was crashed up by the forwards before it was spread wide and Josh Knowles raced through the fractured midfield to go over much to the delight of a large crowd and his team mates (23-20).
That should have been that but Garstang decided to make things difficult for themselves as they conceded a penalty from the restart.
It was a relatively straightforward kick at goal but Garstang breathed a collective sigh of relief as the ball hit the post and was safely cleared.
That turned out to be the final chance for the opposition and Garstang held on for a vital league win.
Joel Dugdale capped a fine afternoon for himself as he was given the Man of the Match award.
Team: Miller, Barton, Hindle, Whitaker, Everest, Slater, O’Brien, Dawson, Rowbottom, Dugdale, Richmond, Knowles, Nickson, Robinson (Capt), Constant. The Blues had a difficult afternoon away at Thornton Cleveleys as they lost 48-6. On Saturday 4th October the 1st XV have no game but the Blues are back in action against Clitheroe 2nds, KO15:00.