The Vandals outscored but outstanding at Orrell

Orrell 2nds 22 Fylde Vandals 12

[Photo courtesy of Orrell RUFC] 

It was almost like The Dirty Dozen. 12 vastly outnumbered warriors, attempt to defy the odds to gain victory against a strong opposition. I say almost because Charles Bronson and Telly Savalas weren’t playing and the opposition was Orrell 2nd’s and not the might of the German army. Anyway less of the Hollywood analogies and back to the game.  

This was the week we didn’t need loads of unavailabilities with players having flu and other things to do but unfortunately that’s exactly what happened and it was with a dozen Vandals that we turned up at Winstanley College to take on Orrell 2nd’s in the return league fixture. It had been a draw at the Woodlands earlier in the season so both teams were hoping to go one better on what was a damp and coldish January afternoon.  

Fylde and Orrell’s history goes back a long way with countless games at all levels. This has led to a great friendship, and rivalry, between the two clubs. That friendship was shown again this afternoon as Orrell had no problem lending the Vandals 3 players to make up their numbers. Thanks very much indeed to Orrell for that fantastic gesture.  

Orrell had young backs and they were keen to spread the ball whenever they could but the Vandals strengths on the day lay elsewhere so it was up the jumper stuff for them. The contest was good from the start. The Vandals scrums were solid with the front row of Richard Todd, Tim Barrett and Brian from Orrell holding firm and the second row of Ali Atkinson and Adey Grey providing the grunt in spades. Young Ben from Orrell and Jon Whitby on the flanks terriered away all day and stand-in skipper Tom Godfrey offered stoic stability at no.8.  

Orrell were the first over any try line as one of their more speedy players broke free but the Vandals playing up a pretty steep incline won a lineout in Orrell’s 22. The ball was trundled forward expertly by the big boys up front and Tom Godfrey was on hand to place the ball at the base of the post protector for the try, Paul Green slotted the easy kick.  

The down-the-hill game plan for the second half was simple win the ball, keep the ball, kick the ball to the corner. This was done very nicely on more than a few occasions but Orrell were always in the hunt and managed to bag a couple more tries to open up a bit of a lead. The Vandals defence was the usual mixture of a good team effort, excellent scrambling and great one-on-one hits. An example of this was really a double tap, Paul Green making the initial contact but, as the Orrell player thought he was getting away, from nowhere a 22 stone Exocet missile hit him side on, burying him into the soft ground…Ali Atkinson got up with a huge smile on his face! 

The backs when called upon fronted up manfully. Paul Green was a handful the whole game, Gary Andrews and Pete Acton ran and tackled their hearts out and Cian O’Donnell and Pete from Orrell out wide made good ground and linked up with anyone who was available. Finally Tony Rawlinson patrolled the back yard with a diligence and finesse that rolled back the years.  

The Vandals still had time to make another couple of impressions on the game. They had pushed Orrell to within a few meters of their try line out wide. The ball was recycled nicely and Phil Swindells gave a disguised pass to Tom Godfrey who made a beeline to the corner only to be gang tackled out of play…close but no cigar. However they did reap the rewards of good pressure when the Orrell fly half tried to clear the ball, Phil Swindells charged the ball down and it deflected out towards the corner for Cian O’Donnell to grab the try. Well it was only awarded after the Orrell winger confirmed to the referee that the score was good as the official’s line of sight was obstructed, thanks to said Orrell winger for that. As it turned out this was pretty much the last action of the game and it finished 22-12 to Orrell. 

This was a hard fought game and I’d like to say well done to Orrell. We can’t thank them enough for lending us Brian, Ben and Pete and we wish them all the best for the rest of their league campaign. Also thanks again to their physio Vansessa for looking after a couple of our players who picked up knocks.  

A huge thanks goes to the Dirty Dozen who made the trip. They produced an excellent performance in great adversity and should quite rightly hold their heads high. They made Orrell work very hard for their win and were in the game from start to finish. Next week is another away one that sees us take a trip to Sedgley Park to take on their 4th’s, I’ll see you all for that. 

The team was Richard Todd, Tim Barrett, Brian Orrell, Ali Atkinson, Adey Grey, Jon Whitby, Ben Orrell, Tom Godfrey (c), Phil Swindells, Paul Green, Cian O’Donnell, Gary Andrews, Pete Acton, Pete Orrell, Tony Rawlinson 

Relief EPD – Tom Godfrey 

Report – Phil Swindells