U15's edge a close encounter!
By Mike Malley
The u15's tough it out in a close match as kicking wins the day.
Yesterday we had 16 available, today only 14 made it, a mixture of league commitments, injuries and half term holidays leaving us short in several departments. A big shout to Charlie and Sam W who have both been turning up to support the lads despite both being injured!
We managed to borrow Ryan from Wrexham who did a great job for us to ensure the game started at 15 a side, shame it didn't end that way!
The early exchanges were positive, both teams well matched, we went through the phases looking after the ball well and when Wrexham had possession they got numbers behind the ruck making it difficult for us to counter. It was largely played out in the middle of the field and it took until about 15 minutes in for us to register the first points, Jude Smith slotting a penalty following an infringement in front of the posts.
A couple of minutes later Wrexham took the lead, a couple of missed tackles allowed a Wrexham player to break and a superb covering tackle from Lightning looked like it had saved the day but again Wrexham were strong in the ruck and following a couple of phases on our line they found an overlap on our left to go in but missed the conversion.
Ed who had a fantastic game today made the first in a number of breaks five minutes before half time, ironically turning the ball over from a ruck, to set Nathan up for our first try of the game to put us back in front. Jude Smith then scored his second penalty of the day right on half time as a Wrexham player saw a yellow card for a late tackle on him to extend our half time lead to 11-5. It was testament to Jude Smiths performance today, he was clearly seen as a threat by the Wrexham lads as he tackled like a demon, made breaks and kicked superbly.
Early in the second half we lost Joe E to a bang on the head, with no subs we played on with 14 on the pitch. The lads really stepped up however, Nathan, both Jude's, Riley, Leo, CJ and Ed competed every ball. Wrexhams numerical advantage eventually told when they came back within a point following a line out on our 10 metre line when one of there big forwards crashed over.
We extended our lead again shortly afterwards when a Christian kick put the Wrexham full back under pressure on his own try line and as he fumbled for the ball Lightning was on him to score. Jude S converted a difficult kick.
We thought we had extended the lead further with what looked like the try of the day when Ed made another superb break down the left bouncing 3 or 4 tacklers as he cleared half the pitch, as he eventually went down he offloaded to CJ who went in under the posts but it was disallowed for a foot in touch.
The last 10 minutes were a touchy affair, a bit of niggle creeping in from both teams leading to 2 yellows for Warrington players (both for high tackles) with a minute of each other leaving us with 12 players on the pitch! From the second penalty Wrexham crashed over to bring them back within 3 points as the inevitable gaps appeared in our defence.
We managed to hold on however for a well deserved 18-15 win, decision making to kick the penalties and Jude Smith's subsequent kicks being the difference between the 2 sides.
Thanks to Wrexham for making the journey in a hastily arranged match, Ryan (from Wrexham) who played for us and the lads who played on with minor knocks. Our work rate today was second to none in a very competitive game. Next week Vale.