Another classic McIntyre report: U14s v Widnes

Lancashire Cup

Fylde U14 50 Widnes U14 17

We welcomed old friends and tough opponents Widnes to the Woodlands Memorial Ground. First teamers Alex Loney had taken the pack off for a spot of scrummaging and Tom Forster took on his role as the merry whistle blower – obviously these lads had heard what a tidy outfit the 14’s are and were trying to claim some glory or get some tips – I’ll let the keen reader of these match reports decide.

Widnes turned up with plenty of numbers and they looked very handy in the warmup. It was first strike to Fylde though – the pack looked interested from the off and a series of quick and effective rucks put Godders in with an overlap to spare. Widnes hit back with a marvellous set play and this put their best player away without a defender in sight – a great score but the home supporters were worried with such a fabulous try.

The pack played a lot tighter this week – a strong front row of Saif, Dan the Man Double Tops, and Big John got an early nudge, Aki and Max the Man Supreme worked well in the boiler house. The back row had the rangy and rapidly improving Finn, the ball handling talents and tackling of Cam Mac and quite frankly the biggest blindside since Ben Clarke with Jack Chappers finally making his debut. Olly Greenwood looked sharper at scrum-half – doubtless helped by the improved pack performance. He enjoyed a stint on the wing then drastically reduced the average weight of the back row by having a spell at 7.

Jimmy had got more space this week and after sage advice from a couple of sources chose not to throw loopy mis-passes. Tom O’Hara had timed his support runs nicely and rumours are he may have passed the ball after side stepping 7 players, the coaches are pouring over CCTV evidence as I write. Luke Rae had his usual couple of dangerous runs and stepped in to make sure he found support. Hendo had done the most unusual warmup of taking his playing shirt off and on again a dozen times to see if it would stretch a bit more, but he looked quicker than last week – once he got momentum up he was some sight as he legged it down the wing.

Harry Turkey Thommo had a tough game but perhaps his best game as Widnes tested him with box kicks, range finders and grubbers – the full back swept them all up, counter attacked then made one less pass than Tom. Fair play to these two as they learned a lot in defence against their fantastic runner and shut him out for most of the game. James came on to give Saif a breather after he ran himself into the ground and it wasn’t long before Godders bagged a brace.

By this time Jack Chappers had received a couple of passes and he set off like Kevin Ward without the bad tasche – he can borrow Cameron’s whispy effort if needs be. Inevitably he scored a debut try – but must look after the ball a bit better specially with a few lads from Widnes being keen on the jackal in the ruck. Hendo finished the half by moving up through the gears to put Fylde 3 clear scores ahead. Lenny had come on to make his debut – looking very tidy at scrum half and wing especially with a great run late in the game and a couple of good tackles. Kayden was on the wing and a forward pass initially denied him a try but it wasn’t long before he raced in for his first 5 pointer and surely a crisp fiver from his dad!

Jimmy found some space out wide and then he delivered a devastating step inside to score, Tom added another from 30 yards out and with some nice kicks from Luke the Fylde lads pulled away. Every credit to their best runner as he managed to run strongly for a well-deserved hat trick.

Then the match was summed up – Saif straightened and the quick ruck fed Jimmy who found Godders who passed inside to Max at full tilt who then fed Chappers who then moved it on to Hendo for a score that was difficult to defend. A very pleasing if not magnificent performance; the whole squad played well. Further thankyous to Tom and Alex, the vociferous yet knowledgeable support and we wish Widnes all the best for the rest of the season. I also wish the young lads reading this the best of luck on your googling to understand the references to great past players and commentators of the two rugby codes.

Graeme McIntyre