Lancaster Vs Bolton-le-Moors 5th June 2004
Written by: Richard de la Riviere
Bolton Le Moors remain the leaders of the North West division of the TotalRL.com Summer Conference with a hard fought 32-10 victory over Lancaster at Giant Axe on Saturday.
Gavin Winder replaced top try scorer Mark Squires on the wing and Martin Pike came in for his first start of the season replacing Matt Craven in the three-quarter line. In the forwards, Liam Hall was rewarded with his recent form with a return to the starting line up.
Lancaster made a solid start to the game but despite good field position they could not cross the Bolton line. They were duly punished in the fifth minute of the game when David McVernon was harshly penalised for playing the ball too quickly and from the resulting field position Marc Simon opened the score for Bolton.
Bolton, again with the aid of a number of Swinton Lions players in their line up, added further scores from Simon Briggs and Mark Brindle. Briggs touched down after 16 minutes, finishing off a n exquisite 50 metre handling movement and Brindle touched down nine minutes later after Bolton had won a rare scrum against the head to give his side a flattering 14-0 lead.
The home side finished the half the stronger. With the scrum base triangle of Russell Birkett, Keith Hartlebury and Greg Sykes being a constant menace to Bolton, Lancaster found themselves in a number of attacking positons. Eventually Hartlebury stepped inside a challenge close to the Bolton line, dummied the last defender and wriggled his way over the line. Hartlebury is having an outstanding season and when his try was converted by Andy Garnett the half time deficit was a mere eight points.
However, once again, their start to the second half was ultimately to cost Lancaster. They didn't touch the ball for a whole five minutes as Bolton forced two repeat sets of six. On their eighteenth successive tackle full back Ryan Kelly took an inside pass from half back Kevin Coward to cross next to the posts.
Still only two scores behind, Lancaster continued to exert pressure. Hall and McVernon won their battle with the Bolton front row but a combination of top quality Bolton defending and Lancaster putting the final pass to ground meant the Bolton lead stayed in tact and when Simon Ledwick had a try disallowed the signs were that it was not to be Lancaster;s day.
Bolton extended their lead to with further tries to Adrian Reynoldson and Coward but Lancaster were to have the last say when Hartlebury kicked outwide to the left wing. The ball was helped on by debutant Graham Shaw and Gavin Winder touched down for his maiden Lancaster try. Garnett narrowly missed the sideline conversion and the final score was 32-10.
Hartlebury was rewarded for his performance with his second Walkabout Inns Man of the Match award of the season. Greg Sykes put in a top class display of running and tackling matched all the way by Russell Birkett. Martin Pike demonstrated his value to the squad by replacing the injured Randall Raines at full back and troubling the Bolton defence all afternoons with his jinking kick returns and Gavin Winder saved at least two tries by diffusing tricky bombs to the corner under massive pressure.
Next up for Lancaster are Liverpool Buccaneers at Giant Axe on Saturday. Lancaster will be keen to avenge their ten point defeat from three weeks ago and will be hoping for another boisterous crowd to cheer them on. Squires and Craven will be returning to the squad as Lancaster will be seeking to repeat last seasons victory.
LANCASTER: 1 Randall Raines, 2 Martin Pike, 3 Phil Casson, 4 Andy Garnett, 5 Gavin Winder, 6 Greg Sykes, 7 Keith Hartlebury, 8 Dave McVernon, 9 Matt Edwards, 10 Liam Hall, 11 Pete Edwards, 12 Liam Butterworth, 13 Russell Birkett. Subs: Rob Shaw, Graham Shaw, Nicholas Roberts, Simon Ledwick, Chris Helme, Colin Bebington, James Hughes, Brian Birkett.
FULL TIME 10-32
HALF TIME 6-14
TRIES: Hartlebury, Winder
WALKABOUT INNS MAN OF THE MATCH: Keith Hartlebury
North West Division Summary
Liverpool Buccaneers 29 v 8 Blackpool Sea Eagles
CREWE WOLVES won both halves 32-6 to down NORTH WALES COASTERS, posting 13 tries in the process. Flannery and Smith both claimed hat tricks, Hoyland bagging 24 points from a try and ten goals. Dave Gray's brace was the Coasters highlight. BLACKPOOL SEAS EAGLES led courtesy of Richard Jackson's try but LIVERPOOL BUCCANNEERS rallied to claim victory. A Mark Pickering field goal put them on their way, he subsequent try adding to one by Mark Yates and a Neil Balshaw score in the corner. Daryl Lacey added a brace for the Buccaneers, Tony Clarke replied before Balshaw completed the scoring.
WIDNES SAINTS stormed to a massive win against the previously unbeaten CHESTER WOLVES who had only let in 36 points all season. The rout started in the first minute when Greg Lawrenson put in Fijian Danny Badham for the first of his hat trick. He got his second four minutes later when put in by Neil Bourke after sterling work from Waitangi Halatanu. Danny Yates was next to score after an extravagent dummy from Anthony Hollins, Wolves' Paul Curphey powering clear after good pressure to make the half time score 24-4. Mark Wakefield ghosted over for the first of his brace from the kick off to give Chester hope before a Peter Forrest break paved the way for Hollins Carl Leach unselfishly put in Mike Lamb for the first of his brace and Steve O'Brien was next to cross. Wakefield scored his second and with Matt Drinkwater converting, the Wolves were still in with a chance at 40-16. Lamb went in for his second before Benson crossed, Badham completing a hat trick before Leach and a further brace from Benson sealed an unhappy day for the Wolves.
BOLTON LE MOORS remain at the head of the table after winning
From the Axe - By Rob Shaw
Lancasters defence seems to be a bit on the Schizophrenic side. Few would argue that the Lancaster forwards dominated the contact situations, and were by far the more physical side, but a few naive mistakes let the overall effort down.
Dave McVernon and Liam Hall proved to be a massive nuisance for Bolton all afternoon with aggressive running and tackling. On many occasions Bolton were clearly intimidated by the size and power of the Lancaster Props, a somewhat surprising situation considering the amount of professional experience in the le Moors side.
The flip side of our defences personality proved to be our undoing. On more than one occasion we conceded tries as a result of people rushing out of the line and leaving a gap behind. This over-keen defence ultimately proved to be the turning point of the game, each time a Lancaster comeback threatened it was put straight to bed by an unfortunate defensive mistake.
The positive side of this is that the effort put in by the players is clearly there. It just needs channelling a little more in the right direction.
We also need to respect possession a little better. Turning over the ball with ill-judged offloads in our own half proved to be costly, gifting Bolton-le-Moors sets of six in attacking positions.
Players often feel hard done by by the referee. On Saturday we had a good ref but he did cost the team one would-be try when he got in the way of a promising set move from the scrum. 4-ball was called and an overlap created down the blind side, only to be thwarted by the ref who couldnt get out of the way fast enough.
Russell Birkett had an outstanding first half, often willing to take the ball up more than once in each set. Gavin Winder had a strong game in defence, and his efforts were pleasingly rewarded a try in the corner after showing good awareness to follow a speculative kick through on the fifth tackle.
You cannot coach trys like the one Keith Hartlebury scored. Keith dummied, ducked, and then showed great balance to step and duck again to be tackled within reach of the line. The Bolton defence halted him inches short but Keith managed to reach out and place the ball over the line to crown a great individual effort.
Nick Roberts made his debut for Lancaster from the bench, taking the ball up strongly and making no mistakes in defence, pressing the coaching staff for a regular place in the squad.
Gallery - Photography by Nicola Moss