On Saturday 25th November Trafford MV, full of confidence after winning their last 6 matches, faced off against a strong Fleetwood side, who have only lost 2 of their last 7 games.
After heavy rainfall overnight, causing some fixtures in the North Lancashire/Cumbria league to be postponed, the pitches at Macpherson Park were in great condition. The stage was set for what turned out to be a thrilling game between 2 attacking teams. MV elected to play with the wind in the first half hoping for a strong start.
The kick of however wasn’t taken well by skipper Andy Quigley which gave Fleetwood an early attacking opportunity. Trafford worked hard in defence and kept their structure, the ball was turned over and hoofed down field, after a fumble from the opposition winger it was now MV’s turn to attack.
After some strong running from Jamie Kingdon and the returning centre Dom West, Fleetwood felt the pressure and eventually gave away a penalty in the middle of the pitch. An easy kick for the in form scrum half Pat Eccles. 3-0
Fleetwood returned with some strong running of their own, playing the phases well and putting MV under some pressure. It looked like Trafford had cleared their lines after a loose pass was hacked through by Andrew Clegg. But after a poor chase, Fleetwood’s lighting winger was able to step through the gaps and score the games first try 3-7.
It was now Trafford’s turn to come out strong from the kick. After the usual pressure on the catcher from Gareth Bevan the forwards and backs combined well to work themselves deep into the Fleetwood 22. Eccles dummied some runners desperate to get the ball and gave a flat pass the Jamie Kingdon who was able to squeeze over in the corner with Eccles converting 10-7.
The game continued to be a tit for tat affair when, from the kick off, Fleetwood were back in the driving seat. A series of missed tackles meant that Fleetwoods opposite winger took a good pass to score their own try in the corner 10-14.
Trafford’s next try came after an amazing pass from Dom West to Danny Burke who trundled through the gap created, managed to beat the full back and flopped dramatically over the line, Eccles again on target with the conversion 17-14
Trafford we’re now in 5th gear and taking the game to the visitors. But a forced pass gave an opportunity for Fleetwood’s fleet-footed winger an opportunity to intercept, which he gladly took and raced 55 meters to score under the posts. Half time 17-19 to the visitors.
Fleetwood drew first blood in the second half, with a long-range penalty effort 17-22. But MV weren’t ready to lie down. After breaking the gain line time after time Centre Matt Coxon ran at a great angle to burst through the defence and score to take the lead Eccles conversion making it 24-22
MV spent the next 15 minutes camped on the opposition 5 metre line when scrum after scrum was penalised. The pressure eventually told when the Fleetwood scrum half was sent to the sun bin for tackling the no. 8 without the ball. Trafford efforts however did not result in any points when Fleetwood managed to kick clear. MV took the ball straight back at the tired Fleetwood defence on the left. The ball was passed down the line to replacement winger Jonathan Lord who gave a well-timed pass to Jamie Kingdon who crossed over for his second 31-29
Trafford finished the game on top with another Eccles penalty, who managed to get yet another 100% kicking record. The final score was 34-29 to MV who take five points from the game as well as confidence for their trip to Keswick next week.
Man of the match was fly half Stuart Crampton who controlled the game well and kicked MV into the dangerous attacking positions.
(By Wilf Dooley)