In good conditions Trafford MV welcomed a strong Bolton side to MacPherson Park hoping to follow-up their recent win at Aldwinians with a win in front of their home fans.
Both sides opened strongly and competed well for both territory and possession, as seen from previous games and results MV are no pushovers in this League but results are proving hard to get.
With MV pressurizing deep in the Bolton ’22 the defence sought to clear their lines with a high kick which was fielded by MV’s captain Andy Quigley who slipped an early ball to supporting Danny Burke who thwarted the oncoming rush defence with a neatly threaded ball to Gaz Bevan to scythe through the remaining defence from near the half way line. The try went unconverted.
Bolton’s pack brought them back into the game with increased effort and a good driving maul saw them power over from close range.
At this point in the game the visitors were getting the upper hand slightly thanks to their forwards and as they came hard again constant pressure forced another score despite great defensive effort particularly from John Gillam who put in three try saving tackles one after the other before the defence finally cracked. 5 -12
Never out of it MV kept probing and with good linkage between the half backs some good interplay saw MV’s player coach Stuart Crampton use excellent footwork to beat loose defence and cross the line 10-12.
Shortly before half time Bolton were able to work the ball out wide on the left for a good attack in open spaces which brought their 3rd try of the day to settle the half time score at 10-17.
In the early stages of the second half MV looked the better side with good forward momentum from the pack combined with decent hand and running from the back line causing Bolton to defend desperately.
MV were looking to get the ball to their bis wide runner Jamie Kingdon who took a good inside ball, breaking the line to be tackled by the last man full back. MV brought on the pacey Zac Crabb for Dominic West and this extra zip brought a further threat to the Bolton defence.
Again a poor kick out of defence was fielded well by Crabb whose mazy run beat three defenders before releasing Kingdon after committing the fullback in a two on one situation. Pat Eccles converted to go level at 17-17.
With the game on a knife-edge and both teams seeking the points things got a little heated when a potential Bolton stamp went unlighted and tempers were raised, harsh words from the referee calmed things down though no cards were shown.
MV were looking strong and they were camped close to the Bolton line for long periods although rushed attacks and poor decision-making saw the potential being lost through spilt balls and defensive gaps being closed.
As MV pressed strongly on the right play was switched back to the left but an unexpected pass saw a loose ball collected by Bolton and moved quickly to their right-winger who raced the length of the field down the touch-line with flailing cover defence still recovering from their attacking positions.
The resultant conversion attempt was missed but the try was enough to secure a bonus point for Bolton and close the scoring at MV 17- Bolton 22.
This was yet another sucker punch for MV who must learn quickly from their mistakes and take the new learning into the second half of the season when the pressure for league points will become even greater.
MV continue to see huge positives with good games from the forwards especially Gaz Bevan and Danny Burke and from prop Jack Gobbet for his solid defence.
The MV backs also showed some positive performances with newcomer John Gillam, Sale Grammar teacher Stuart Crampton and Man of the Match Jamie Kingdon showing what MV are capable of.
This weekend MV make the short journey to Salford to face De La Salle who picked up a narrow win at Aldwinians 18-22.
When the fixture was played at MV back in November MV were again kicking themselves on the back of a 15-18 home defeat.
So the closeness of these results gives MV confidence that win’s are just around the corner and the importance of patience, getting points in the bag and clinical finishing will need to become second nature to the boys from Trafford.
(By Wild Dooley)