Performance improves but result is same - Crewe Vs Lancaster 24th July 2004
CREWE 24 LANCASTER 18 Totalrl.com Conference ShieldPlayoff
Lancaster's second journey to Crewe in eight days brought a much improved
performance but ultimately another defeat in the play-offs for the Rugby
League Conference Shield competition.
WALKABOUT INNS MAN OF THE MATCH:Liam Hall
LANCASTER : Winder, Garnett, Casson, Craven, Squires, Walker,
Hartlebury, McVernon, Edwards, Hall, Helme, Ledwick, R Birkett. Subs:
Edwards, Roberts, G Shaw, Weston.
Harry Jepson Trophy
LIVERPOOL BUCCANEERS produced a fantastic team performance to sweep aside BOLTON LE MOORS in the Harry Jepson eliminator at Sefton. It was sweet revenge for the home side as they beat their rivals when it mattered after two narrow, regular season defeats. The Buccaneers were in total control with superb performances in particular by Mark Yates, the Lacey brothers, Al Stewart and Kris Ratcliffe, who scored the opening try after eight minutes. Soon after, quick thinking by Yates saw him dummy and then scoot in at the left had corner to come up with the four pointer. Liverpool were now brimming with confidence and in the 24th minute went for a power play on the last tackle and were rewarded as the elusive Daryl Lacey scored the first of three tries by the posts to make it 14-0 at the break. In the second half as Liverpool always looked the greater attacking threat, Daryl Lacey breaking the line again on the resumption to sprint in by the uprights. Bolton temporarily stopped the rot with Dave Hindley scoring a try Kieran Lacey made the gap for his brother to draw in the tacklers and unload to send Mike McPartland in at the corner. The half back was at it again soon after, evading the defensive line and dancing through the Bolton defence from the half way line to complete his hat-trick. Yates kicked a magnificent effort from by the touchline. Good passing between Lacey and his brother, Kieran sent Sefton RUFC fly half Phil Evans over for his first try in Buccaneers colours and capped a top performance from the hard tackling centre. Bolton had the consolation of the final say with Mark Brindle registering the last points of the afternoon.
The Buccaneers will now face CHESTER WOOLVES on Friday night after they lost out in heart breaking circumstances to WIDNES SAINTS. Wolves led 21-6 at the break and appeared to be coasting until the league leaders hit back to steal the spoils late on. CREWE WOLVES held on to beat LANCASTER in the Shield in a thriller. Crewe opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a try by Paul Flannery but Lancaster hit back with a try to Mark Squires. From the kick off Danny Hoyland took the ball to cross for Crewe. Lancaster then scored two tries by Andy Garnett and Russell Birkett before Crewe replied with a try by Mark Martin to make the half time score 12 points each. Martin scored his second on the 47th minute to edge Crewe in front. A brilliant try saving tackle by Hoyland on Matt Edwards was the tackle of the match before Liam Hall crossed for Lancaster converted by Neil Walker. Crewe secured the win with a brace of tries by Rick Smith.
The View From The Axe - Rob Shaw
On Saturday Lancaster had a point or two to prove to Crewe after the previous weeks humiliating defeat. Not only was that point proved, but we nearly overcame the odds to snatch victory.
Both teams were without their respective men of the match from the previous week, but other than that the teams were largely unchanged. So what caused the remarkable turn around in fortunes? Rugby league is all about the sensible completion of sets of six plays. Ideally of course, the sets would be completed with the scoring of a try. Other than that, a skillful kick to gain a territorial advantage over your opponents would be an excellent conclusion to your attack.
It was in this area that Lancaster improved the most, playing the tactical game and pinning Crewe deep within their own territory. The Crewe forwards, so dominant and mobile the week before, were strangely subdued into submission, and the pacy Lancaster three quarters once again had a platform from which to mount an attack.
Throughout the game Lancaster played some scintillating rugby, and my opinion were the better team. The final score indicates a one-try loss, but does give any indication of the numerous times that Lancaster crossed the whitewash in vain.
Firstly, Michael Holmes who had slotted into the scrum half role, broke clear from deep within his own half. The 80-yard break was brought to an end by an ankle tap inches from the line. Holmes, clearly not held in the tackle, reached out to place the ball over the line to score a fine individual try. The unsighted ref, understandably struggling to keep up with the break, ruled that placing the ball over the line constituted an illegal double movement.
Unfortunately at our level of rugby we are some way off having a video ref to call upon. Decisions go against you sometimes, and they have to be taken on the chin. Referees are, after all, human.
However, Mark Squires try was not disallowed by a neutral referee, but called back by a suspiciously biased Crewe touchjudge who insisted that Squires encountered the touchline after one sweeping Lancaster movement released him down the left flank.
Lady Luck really had deserted Holmes on Saturday. Another try scoring opportunity went awry when he narrowly failed to collect Neil Walkers restart. With the Crewe team scattered about the pitch in their Kick off positions, the try line was beckoning for Holmes, a devastating broken play runner. As if to confirm that it was not Lancasters day, the final try scoring opportunity was put to ground by Hartlebury who narrowly failed to collect his own chip through the defence. The ball stubbornly refused to bounce high enough on the ridiculously long Winnington Park grass.
We could very easily have been writing about a comfortable Lancaster victory today, but for these adverse incidents.
It is a credit to the commitment of the lads that they were able to raise themselves for another trip down the M6 and through the Thellwall car park after the demoralising result at the same place last week. The Lancaster Rugby team of 2004 have proved themselves to be of sterner stuff.
Lancaster now face what is effectively cup-tie rugby no second chances from now on. One more defeat means the end of the season. Next week we play Blackpool who defeated North Wales in the 7th vs. 8th playoff.
Following the controversial postponement and subsequent cancellelation of the Blackpool league fixture, its fair to say there has been a bit of bad blood between the two clubs. This should add a little extra spice to what is already a highly charged derby fixture.