Warrington Junior Colts 24 Liverpool Collegiate Junior Colts 13
Objective number one achieved for the season...Lancashire Cup retained
Now at the business end of a long season for the Junior Colts the penultimate game of the season Lancashire Cup final v Liverpool Collegiate at Fleetwood RUFC.
Interesting game of psychology for the Wire how would the players approach the game as rematch of last years final which Wire won at the death and two weeks ago Wire blitzed Liverpool off the park at Walton Lea. Fortunately the coaches although not as street wise as the players are still wise enough to prepare players well and there would be no complacency !!
The Wire kicked off with a strong wind cutting straight across the pitch ,the 25 mph winds giving good indication of how the game was going to be played ball to Alex, kick for position, set plays for the forwards.
After 2 mins the plan was being excited to perfection and from a tap penalty Jacob took the ball and powered over on the right 5-0 no conversion in the strong cross wind as the ball was being blown off the kicking tee. Wire received ball and a too good return left player isolated and penalty conceded in front of the sticks 5-3. Basic errors from Wire when they were in possession of the ball was to be a low light of the game and allowed Liverpool luxury field position.
However Wire stared to control next period of the game Alex's right boot was in fine form, George and Drew dominating the sensible short line outs, front row of White, Saunders and Sigley making yards supported by Ollie and Matt T or in forwards coach Kellett's words "irresistible and a joy to watch ".
Jack Sigley low drive rewarded with a score on the right not converted 10-3 interestingly awarded by the touch judge much to Jacks's surprise after a recent disappointment.
Liverpool then came back strong much improved performance from the last game , they were competing for every ball and tackling was much stronger. However the Liverpool 10 persisted in attempting to chip and chase the ball through this was tidied up by Hew , Will , Tomas and Luke number of times. Few good returns were littered with mistakes and ball was lost at first phase. Wire putting themselves under pressure but Liverpool were not savvy enough to make the most of the charity Wire were showing them.
Excellent cover tackle from Ben on the pacy left winger stuffed out the one real opportunity. Liverpool eventually took and converted penalty for half time score 10-6.
Wire weren't quite on it even though they were up on the scoreboard and not under any pressure they had forgotten the game plan ,started to play bit loose and needed to focus on doing the basics-right sticking to the game plan rather than running the ball.Liverpool had learnt lessons from two weeks ago when the backs cut them to pieces and had improved line speed to close Spencer's snipping runs and down channels 1 & 2.
Wire started second half more direct with Cam making yards over the game line but not breaking free, good sets saw Wire roll up the pitch and final pick and go from Jacob saw another forwards try converted 17-6.
Strange passage of play then saw Wire up the pace and Liverpool were on the back foot even going backwards when they had the ball in hand, only to be saved by Wire mistakes not being able to hold the final ball gather kick all adding together and causing bit of frustration resulting in number of back to back penalties which allowed Liverpool into Wire half and from a tap and go score on the right converted 17-13.
This gave Liverpool hope and they started to move ball around , but strong message from the Wire coaches to the players last 15 mins all about game management and Harry, Spencer ensured the forwards carried this out to perfection. Great support from tackling machines George, Matt T, Austin and Scott ensured no yards were given. Will leading by example and very vocal organizing the backs to ensure Wire played game on their terms in the right areas.
Cometh the the hour cometh the play and the player to calm the supporters ....Alex has all the key attributes for a 10 with variation in plays to break any defence.However on this occasion being in the right place at the right time was enough , midfield tackle from Tomas on the half way line forced a loose ball. Alex one handed scoop from the floor and foot race against chasing cover saw him under the sticks plus extras 24-13.
Game then played out good to see Jake return and Taylor on for his first medal. Final whistle Wire 24 -13 Liverpool Collegiate.
Not a classic by any means but excellent win and reward for the players and coaches. The squad has really developed from last season train , play and celebrate together.
It is a squad effort every player in the squad of 23 has contributed. Junior Colts have played 24 games this season , all full on hard fast and furious with hardly any rest weeks for knocks bumps and bruises.
It a massive commitment , some weeks they have taken to the field with 15 and 16 players but the squad sprit is so strong injured players have always turned up to support, back players who are playing.
Quick note of thanks to Lancashire for providing excellent officials for the day , Fleetwood RUFC for hospitality and Liverpool Collegiate for a competitive game.
Finally big thanks for the players and parents back at the club for the well earned correct, proper and respectful celebrations....... ooh Warrington is wonderful ... it is full of .... !!