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Liverpool Vs Lancaster 22nd May 2004

The view from Lancaster

LIVERPOOL 28 LANCASTER 18

Totalrl.com Rugby League Summer Conference.


A late try from student international Ash Carroll finally killed off Lancaster's spirited effort against Liverpool in the Totalrl.com Rugby League Summer Conference despite the outstanding efforts of debutant hooker Matthew Edwards and a barnstorming second half display from substitute Liam Hall.

Edwards's introduction to the side saw Keith Hartlebury move to his favoured scrum half berth to replace the injured Steve Hartle. Greg Sykes came off the bench to fill the troubled stand off position after the shoulder injury that Neil Walker suffered at Bolton ruled him out for the season. In the forwards, Dave McVernon and Liam Butterworth made their first starts of the season while Rob Shaw missed out through injury.

The game started in a similar fashion to the away game at Bolton with Keith Hartlebury hoisting a high kick, only for it to be fumbled by Liverpool full back Mark Yates. The opportunistic Mark Squires was on hand to collect and score next to the posts. Andy Garnett converted and for the third consecutive game, Lancaster held an early 6-0 lead.

After an equalising try from Liverpool's loose forward Steve Hunt who found a gap to score in the corner, Squires lit up the game with an eighty metre try. As Liverpool attacked again, Squires read the play, intercepted and raced to the line totally unopposed for his fourth try in three games. However another high kick by Hartlebury saw Liverpool hit back with a try of their own. Yates caught the ball this time and beat three defenders in his seventy metre journey to the line. As a result, Lancaster's half time lead was only 12-10.

The start to the second half determined the outcome of the game. Randall Raines kicked out on the full from the restart. Liverpool gained significant territiory from their penalty and on the last tackle a grubbing kick behind the try line wasn't dealt with by the covering McVernon and Phil Evans pounced on the gift to put Liverpool in the lead for the first time. Five minutes later, Neil Gibson extended the lead with a well taken try down the left hand side. It took Lancaster fifteen minutes in the second half to complete a set of six and this crucial period cost them the game.

When they did start playing they began to show what they could do. Liam Hall's strong hit ups coupled with McVernon finally adjusting to the pace of the game after his six week absence from the sport saw Lancaster finally in Liverpool's red zone. Firstly, Russell Birkett was tackled a yard short after dummying his way through a gap and minutes later Butterworth gathered in a loose ball and scored near to the posts. The deficit was reduced to two points when his try was converted by Raines but Carroll's late try seemed to seal the game for Liverpool.

There was still time for Lancaster to get back into the game. Squires's clever, hanging kick off saw Lancaster regain the ball in the Liverpool half. A repeat set of six was achieved and on the last tackle McVernon burrowed his way over the line from dummy half but the ever alert referee Mr Hill noticed a knock on and disallowed the try. The game was gone for Lancaster.

Matthew Edwards collected the Walkabout Inns sponsored man of the match award. He was pushed closely by Hall, Butterworth, Hartlebury, Russell Birkett and Squires who can all be proud of their performances.

LANCASTER: 1. Randall Raines 2. Andy Garnett 3. Phil Casson 4. Matt Craven 5. Mark Squires 6. Greg Sykes 7. Keith Hartlebury 8. Dave McVernon 9. Matthew Edwards 10. Chris Helme 11. Pete Edwards 12. Liam Butterworth 13. Russell Birkett. Subs: Liam Hall, Simon Ledwick, Brian Birkett, Steven Jackson, Colin Bebington

TRIES: Squires 2, Butterworth

GOALS: Garnett, Raines 2


The view from Lancaster

LIVERPOOL 28 LANCASTER 18

A late try from student international Ash Carroll finally killed off Lancaster's spirited effort against Liverpool in the Totalrl.com Rugby League Summer Conference.

The game started in similar fashion to the away game at Bolton with Keith Hartlebury hoisting a high kick, only for it to be fumbled by the opposition full back. The opportunistic Mark Squires was on hand to collect and score next to the posts. Andy Garnett and for the third consecutive game, Lancaster held an early 6-0 lead.

After an equalising try from Liverpool's loose forward Steve Hunt, Squires lit up the game with an eighty metre try. As Liverpool attacked the Lancaster line, Squires read the play, intercepted and raced to the line totally unopposed. Liverpool's full back, Mark Yates, then replicated this by fielding another Hartlebury kick and in beating three defenders, he went all the way to the line. Lancaster's half time lead was only 12-10.

The start to the second half determined the outcome of the game. Two errors from Randall Raines and Dave McVernon saw Phil Evans put Liverpool in the lead for the first time and five minutes later Neil Gibson extended the lead. It took Lancaster fifteen minutes in the second half to complete a set of six and this crucial period cost them the game.

When they did start playing Liam Butterworth, making his first start for the club, reduced the deficit to two points when his try was converted by Raines but Carroll's late try finally sealed the game for Liverpool.

Matthew Edwards made his debut at hooker for Lancaster and made an impressive start by being their best player on the day.

LANCASTER: 1. Randall Raines 2. Andy Garnett 3. Phil Casson 4. Matt Craven 5. Mark Squires 6. Greg Sykes 7. Keith Hartlebury 8. Dave McVernon 9. Matthew Edwards 10. Chris Helme 11. Pete Edwards 12. Liam Butterworth 13. Russell Birkett. Subs: Liam Hall, Simon Ledwick, Brian Birkett, Steven Jackson, Colin Bebington

TRIES: Squires 2, Butterworth

GOALS: Garnett, Raines 2


The View From The Axe

By Rob Shaw

Dave McVernon made his long awaited 2004 debut for Lancaster on Saturday, but was upstaged somewhat by another debutant - Matt Edwards. From the hooking position Matty tackled himself into the ground putting in hit after hit, which, for such a small guy was incredible, and a delight, to watch.

Matt is one of a couple of lads who travel through to train and play in Lancaster from the South Lakes area. It is testimony to the pulling power of the club that lads are willing to travel this distance to play in this competition. Matt showed us on Saturday why he was voted Player's Player at his winter club Hindpool Tigers. A name to watch when we next play at home!

As much as Matt put himself about in defence, Liam Hall was putting himself about in attack. Liam's welcome return from injury bolstered the pack immensely and made an immediate impact once he came on the field with his powerful running and strong hand-offs. Once Dave McVernon gets his match-fitness back Lancaster really will have a front row to be feared.

It was a much improved defensive performance compared to the Bolton fixture, and our coach Kevin McGuffogg was happy with the effort put in by the lads. At the end of the day though the experience of the players which Liverpool had at their disposal, such as student internationals Ash Carroll and Kieron Lacey, won through. Although the best team on Saturday was definitely Liverpool - with a bit of luck and home advantage we should be able to turn them over when they travel to Giant Axe.

Mark Squires must be one of the most under used talents in the team. On Saturday he created a brace of tries out of nothing and is developing a reputation as a bit of an opportunist. Mark clearly has the pace and skill to take his chances when the opportunity arises, but as a team we are not providing him with enough of these opportunities. This is clearly an area which we need to work on.

Although there were several positives to be taken from the Liverpool defeat, at the end of the day another valuable 2 points have gone gone astray. In a small league with just 8 teams, points are at a premium, and although the margin of defeat was narrow, at the end of the day we received nothing for our efforts which is extremely frustrating considering we were in the lead for much of the match.

My personal hoodoo against Liverpool continues. As with last season's away match, I was unable to play due to injury. But thanks to the various medical bods, and in particular our excellent physio Meno, I may well be in contention for this Saturday.

The coach leaves for Blackpool (incidentally, who with Mark Holden back should now be at full strength) at 11.15am from the Holliday Inn car park. Limited places available for supporters to travel with the team. If we take as many supporters as we did last year to Blackpool, these places will go fast - so book early! Also available are Origin replica shirts (£35) and Origin Videos (£5) Contact Rich de la Riviere for details on 07956 538 567.


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