By Wilf Dooley
In glorious conditions for the opening competitive game of the season Trafford MV entered this Lancashire Trophy game at Heaton Moor with some trepidation. Early season absences left captain Andy Quigley with some desperate selection problems and going into any game without a recognised front row was always going to cause problems.
At Moor’s Green Lane ground the first half was competed well by both sides as the home team took the better of the froward play whilst MV threatened as the ball moved into the backs. Moor fielded a fairly strong XV with a good line up on the bench for later use, MV’s bench however was soon put to use as prop Paul Birch pulled up with a hamstring pull and then 2nd row Chris Ward twisted an ankle – the writing was on the wall !
The sides early exchanges were evenly matched as Donnelly for Moor and Pat Eccles for MV used good field positions to land 3 penalties a piece for a deserved 9 – 9 score line.
The second half brought better fortune for the home side as good forward pressure pressed MV deep into defensive territory. A speculative kick to relieve the pressure saw the ball caught and run back by the elusive Adebo for Moor. When finally halted flanker Ireland was on hand to get the touchdown with Donnelly converting 16-9. MV looked to retaliate and managed to put themselves into a good attacking position – however a weak carry saw the ball turned over in the tackle in the Moor ’22. The home side left-wing Joseph then pinned his ears back and sprinted the length of the field leaving MV defenders in his wake to score under the sticks giving Donnelly a simple conversion 23-9.
MV were not giving up and came straight back winning a good clean line out followed by a series of rucks for second row Andrew Clegg to force his way over narrowing the 2 score lead held by the home side. Eccles converted tp 23-16 to keep MV in the frame. Moor were not giving their lead up easy and with good substitutions adding freshness to their game a further try was to come their way when prop James rounded off a series of drives to ground the ball. Donnelly once gain was successful with his kick 30-16.
With time running out and MV somewhat resigned to defeat it was left to centre Jamie Kingdon to finish off a decent handling move wide out on the left, too wide for Eccles to manage the conversion 30-21 being the final score.
So now it’s into the League season for MV as they look to improve on last seasons performances in the Lancs / Cumbria Division. Opponents Bolton started their season with a close 15 – 10 win over Tyldesley in the Cup so MV will be travelling to meet a team full of confidence. MV will need to improve their level of player availability to ensure adequate strength in all position they will also need to improve ball retention and maintain concentration to secure valuable early league points.
Mini/Junior Rugby starts at Trafford MV, Finny Bank Road, off Glebelands Rd, M33 6LR on Sunday morning at 10.30am. MV’s friendly and experienced coaching team will be keen to meet and greet all new players looking to learn the game. Both boys and girls are welcome starting at 4 years of age right through to late teens. Trafford MV are proud of their record in producing good young players having seen 7 make their 1st team debut last season as Senior Colts U18’s players. Contactwilfdooley@virginmedia.com for more info