The Sarries made the 1st of two trips to Liverpool in a week to face off against Liverpool University Vets 1st team. With the very wet conditions, the team knew that it wasn’t going to be a day for expansive rugby and it was going to be a physical and scrappy game.
The Sarries started the first five minutes very slow and sluggishly, allowing the Vets scrum half to dummy his way through a ruck and score underneath the posts. 7-0.
The Sarries needed to find something to get them going. This came from the big boys up front! Following a massive shove in the scrum, forcing the Vets pack backwards, their 9 was penalised for holding on. Reedy stepped up and knocked over the resulting penalty kick. 7-3.
This gave a boost to the Sarries as again the pack won another scrum against the head forcing a quick break. Captain Reed found himself all alone making the break. Knowing he didn’t have his pace of old, Reedy gave a delicate kick chase through for Kyle MacCauley. Unfortunately, he was just beaten by the covering full back. The full back took offence to Kyle’s chase and decided to have a word with the youngster. The teams very own ‘Scrappy Doo’, Sandy Tonge, found his Puppy Power and decided to intervene and ‘rescue’ young Kyle! I think he was fine all by himself Sandy!
With all this hard work and pressure, they couldn’t make it pay and another lack in concentration allowed the Vets winger to cut back in from the 13 channel and score in the corner. 14-3.
Half time approached and stern words were said by all!
Straight from the restart, the Sarries worked their way up the pitch, forcing the Vets to give away another penalty in front of the posts which Reedy dully knocked over. 14-6.
The Sarries continued to apply pressure and started to build and make yards in the forwards with some big carries from Rob Gatefield, Richard Appleyard, Harry Atkinson and Luke Clitheroe.
With these carries, Jamie Griffin was able to break through and offload to Matt Worsnip who scampered towards the try line. As we all know, Snippy after 10 metres has no pace! Luckily for him, he was able to give a Sonny Bill Esq offload to the supporting Harry Atkinson who scored under the posts. Reedy obliged with the extras 14-13.
For the next ten minutes, The Vets put Fylde on the back foot and found themselves camped on the Sarries try line. Like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, ‘They Shall Not Pass’ was the rallying cry and they didn’t. The boys were putting monster hits in especially from Richard Appleyard, Luke Clitheroe, Tom Hodgkins and Tristan Assad. There was also astute defence from the old warhorse Rick Frith to keep the Vets at bay.
With this strong defence, the Sarries tails were up and they could sense the tide was turning. But, alas, the wind was taken out of their sails with the turning point of the game coming with 10mins remaining. Matt Worsnip found himself on the wrong side of a tackle and gave himself a head injury. As players on both teams stopped to help him, the game continued and a try was given in the corner much to the frustration of the players and watching crowd. 19-13
The Sarries felt much aggrieved and wanted an instant response. Debutant Ryan Evans gave a lovely high ball and chase from just outside the Fylde 22m. Hodgy Jnr was the first to the scene and smashed the full back and forced him to be penalised for holding on. Reedy knocked it over to bring the scores to 19-16.
The Sarries pressed for a winner and they thought they had it when an audacious reverse cross field kick by Reedy to Alex Moffat put him in acres of space. Unfortunately for The Moff, he is carrying a bit of extra timber and couldn’t make it to the line. From the resulting phases, Harry Atkinson was stopped just short also.
As the Sarries were going for it, they were caught on the counter and concede the killer try taking the final score to 24-16.
I would like to thank the Liverpool Vets boys for it was a hard-fought game played in great spirit. We look forward to the return leg early in the New Year at The Woodlands. A big thank you also to their players who helped Snippy in his moment of need.
D.O.D. Tristan Assad; I think Tristan has now learnt that when taking a quick tap penalty, do it on the floor, and not out of hand as the ball can go anywhere and you can get absolutely smashed into next week!
Special Thanks and mention must also go to Kyle MacCauley and Ryan Evans. Both boys are products of the clubs Mini-Junior Section and it’s rewarding to see them progress through the ranks and join the senior sides. It was their debuts in senior rugby and neither were phased. They both played extremely well and made valuable contributions throughout the game. They can come and play with the Sarries any time!
- Richard Frith 2. Blake Wilkinson 3. Harry Atkinson 4. Rob Gatefield 5. Adam Hiles 6.Tristan Assad 7. Richard Appleyard 8. Jamie Griffin 9. Kyle MacCauly 10. David William Reed 11. Tom Hodgkins 12. Matt Worsnip 13. Mulenga Chilufya 14. Scrappy Doo Alex Tonge 15. Ryan Evans 16. Luke Clitheroe 17. Alex Moffat 18. Sam Eric.
Report by Rupert Cobain.