On a showery afternoon Trafford MV drove deep into Lancashire to face an on form Tarleton side. MV was low in confidence following a heavy defeat the previous week whilst the home side had opened with a good win. With the return of a few familiar faces MV were looking for an improvement in performance to hopefully get their season on track.
From the opening whistle it was one way traffic as the home side began with a forceful focus, good froward possession set the platform for some good back play and with only minutes on the clock a score was on the board with a converted try 7-0 for Tarleton. MV tried hard to get a foothold but a second try followed quickly as strong forward drives forced over in the corner 12-0. With their back to the wall things were looking ominous for MV as they seemed to ne losing possession and leaking scores as the home side hit again with some good handling creating an opening for a try near the posts, converted for a 19-0 lead.
MV urgently needed to stem the flow and a decision was made to keep the ball tight to the forwards and stifle the possession that the home side were getting. Better set piece ball and an intent on keeping hold saw a gradual swing in fortunes. Some solid forward drives and good back row support brought a try for stand-off Stuart Crampton, converted by Pat Eccles which brought some much-needed relief 19-7 to Tarleton. The forwards had now got a bit more fight in their play and once again strong driving from Burke and Cooper in particular led to crash ball centre Andrew Moore crossing wide to the left 19-12. With half time just around the corner it seemed as if MV had got the size of the task at hand.
Tarleton however took more out of the half time than MV did and it was the home side that took the ascendency. A penalty to open and then 2 quick converted tries opened up a convincing lead at 36-12 as MV struggled to cope with the pressure. MV were not conceding without a fight and were pressing deep in the home half when they had the chance to take turnover lineout ball only to lose a well won ball and see a breakaway try converted to go 43-12. MV, to their credit, came right back as No 8 Danny Burke broke through the defence for a good run to scramble over 43-17. As earlier the lineout was working well for MV and a good catch and drive gave MV a 4 try bonus point when scrum half Pat Eccles sneaked over and converted 43-17. Tarleton rounded off their good performance with yet another converted try 50-22 final score as they moved into top position in the North Lancs / Cumbria League. The bonus point nudged MV off the bottom of the League ahead of Fleetwood and level on points with Eccles as the early season scrap for points begins.
This weekend MV welcome Aspatria, hometown Club of former Sale and England top try scoring winger Steve Hanley. MV are expecting a good crowd and are welcoming local rugby fans to watch the game with ‘free’ admission.
Mini/Junior Rugby has started their season at MV with lots of new young faces starting their Rugby journey with Trafford. If interested please contact Greg on 07834-857905.
By Wilf Dooley