A strong Trafford MV side travelled to Littleborough for coach Ricky Philips’ first away match in charge.
This is a fixture in which they have enjoyed the recent bragging rights and with the conditions favouring Trafford’s favoured running rugby, they were in a confident mood.
The game started frantically with both sides showing attacking intent. A good clearance kick from Stuart Crampton was gathered by Littleborough deep in their half and as they looked to go wide, their captain and inside centre crucially knocked on under good pressure from Dominic West and Matt Coxon.
From the resulting scrum MV moved the ball through the hands to find winger Jon Lord who still had a lot to do, he powered over in the corner to give MV a 5-0 lead.
Littleborough showed good character to recover from the early set back and quickly found possession in the MV half after some powerful runs from their number 8 and 14 respectively. Trafford were struggling to contain the width that the home side were finding in their attack and they were caught out by a good cross field kick in behind the defence.
The Littleborough number 11 gathered the ball confidently and scored the equalising try. The conversion was good and the home side took the lead 7-5.
The game at this point was an open contest with both sides exchanging penalties. After MV repelled further pressure from the home side, a well-rehearsed move saw Crampton delay his pass to allow centre Coxon to split the defence and race into space.
A superb pass found West, who raced away with impressive pace to finish an excellent try. In response Littleborough once again applied good width to their attack and sent their winger over for his second try. The half ended 17-16 to the home side. Philips decided that the time was right to introduce James Matthie to the contest to add an extra threat to the MV back line.
Littleborough started the second half the much stronger side and their continued pressure saw them build a 7 point lead through two long-range penalties. However they missed two further attempts and Trafford’s resilience saw them break a spell of pressure that was threatening to take the game away from them.
The MV backs, dangerous in attack, moved the ball quickly to Coxon who released Matthie, running 40 yards and rounding a helpless fullback to score under the posts. The game now looked to have turned as Littleborough began to show frustration.
As they looked for an answer to MV’s increased energy, a loose pass was intercepted by Pat Eccles who kept the remaining defender at bay with a strong hand off before touching down close to the posts. MV now lead 30-23.
The game should have been over but as MV looked to run the clock down, a silly penalty was conceded resulting in good territory for Littleborough. Although Trafford won the resulting line out, the ball was once again returned to the home side as MV attempted to clear the ball down field. Littleborough countered well and scored in the corner.
The conversion was good and MV had seemingly surrendered a precious away win in the last-minute. With the clock red and the referee signalling last play, there was time for one last kick off.
As Eccles hoisted the ball high, excellent pressure from captain Andy Quigley and second row Chris Ward saw the ball re-gathered from the kick off and MV set up one final attack. West drove up the middle as Crampton organised a final attack to his left hand side.
The ball was moved through the hands finding Ward who powered through three defenders to score a final try; jubilant scenes ensued. The final score was 37-30 to the away side to maintain their strong start to the season.
Next week Trafford welcome fellow pace setters West Park for a contest that already seems likely to be a thriller. Kick off will be at 3.00pm at M33 6LR and Trafford MV are calling on all local support and rugby neutrals to come down and watch what promises to be a hugely exciting match. West Park retained their top spot with a resounding 98-29 win over Tyldesley as MV secured second place ahead of Didsbury Toch H.