Broadstreet Rugby Football Club spectators were treated to an thirteen try, 79 point sunshine bonanza at the Ivor Preece Field as their team delivered a 55 – 24, maximum point victory over relegated Stockport who, it has to be said, played a huge part in this highly entertaining, high-paced, encounter, writes Bob Harcourt.
Knowing that Stockport had put together an impressive recent run of performances, culminating in the defeat of Otley last time out, the ‘Street boys ignored the ‘dead rubber’ tag on this match and opened proceedings with a powerful, pacey, 27 point first half; with four delightful tries in under the half an hour, and a fifth before the break to bag a bonus point lead.
The third quarter belonged to a spirited Stockport, who played with admirable determination and no little skill, in scoring two excellent tries to add to their solitary first half touchdown; thereby reducing ‘Street’s half time 27 – 7 lead to a twitchy 27 – 19 with the final quarter to play. The home outfit needed to push on to avoid a shock overhaul, and push on they did, with another four tries in the last fifteen minutes. Stockport registered their fourth of the match in this final try-blitz, to deservedly pick up a try-bonus point.
Versatile Andy Murray, this week playing at full back, led the bonanza with a ‘hat-trick’ and number six Gareth Turner and number eight Jack Gibbons grabbed a brace each, with singles from fly half Ben Cooper and centre James Otutaha.
Murray finished off the first of the day after just four minutes, following a fast flowing fifty metre sortie featuring Nathan Tilsley and James Otutaha in the completion; and mighty Murray popped up again three minutes later to complete another multi-phase assault involving that man Otutaha again and his tricky centre partner, Beau Carney. Both top draw scores involved sterling continuity play from the forward pack, with frequent carries by Dan Martin, (having a busy day at openside) Jake Dodd, Mike Worthington and Aaron Crofts, allowing the threequarters to finish off at pace. The next try, after eighteen minutes, was exclusively of the forward’s making as they scrummaged over the visitor’s line for Jack Gibbons to claim a pushover try. Stockport’s hooker Paul Millea pulled one back from the tail of a penalty lineout drive which, converted by Ashley Platt-Hughes, took the score after 25 minutes to Broadstreet 17 Stockport 7. Two more forward surges, with Henry Sandys and Matthew Solomon to the fore, brought tries for Gareth Turner and Jack Gibbons, to push ‘Street on to: Half time: Broadstreet 27 Stockport 7.
Momentous Moment: Enter replacement Sam (Twin) Gibbons for his first rugby of the campaign, having undergone foot surgery before the season’s start. From a timed Tilsley pass, back rower Sam broke through the Stockport defence just inside his own half. With sixty metres still to go, lack of game time and a little too much lager and fannying around during his recuperation, saw him overhauled after making a twenty metre dash. Cut out the ‘distractions’ Sam and you might make thirty metres next time! Also, out of action since before Christmas was Callum Tucker who put in a good shift at lock. Welcome back Cal!
Stockport, no doubt fearing an avalanche and ‘Street feeling replete having already taken a maximum point lead, went on to deservedly enjoy their sunshine moments in grabbing two scorching tries, finished off by Ashley Platt-Hughes and stand-out player Myles Hall on 47 and 60 minutes, respectively. Stockport’s willingness to run from anywhere, whilst sometimes cavalier, was impressive and showed that on a hard surface their pacey and adventurous threequarters can be, at times, more than a handful to contain.
Broadstreet 27 Stockport 19 – game on!
‘Street, not averse themselves to run the ball, knew that they needed to kill off the comeback threat and did so with their own brand of throw-about rugby. It took just four minutes to score through another multi-phase build-up, allowing workhorse James Otutaha to add the finishing touch with a jinking run in; Broadstreet 34 Stockport 19 and fourteen minutes to go. Now, back in command ‘Street piled on the pace and from an Otutaha break inside his own half fellow threequarters Nathan Tilsley and Beau Carney linked to put fly half Ben Cooper over at the sticks. Add Cooper’s conversion and the home boys were out of sight at Broadstreet 41 Stockport 19. Give in Stockport? No! Under pressure deep in their own territory, the ball was flung wide where the fast, impressive, Myles Hall took off and good support from Chris Barlow allowed the latter to touch down at the other end for the visitor’s fourth try; Broadstreet 41 Stockport 24. As if offended, ‘Street noticeably put their foot back on the gas pedal and ran in two more tries in three minutes through Murray’s third and Gareth Turner’s second; both converted by Cooper:
Full Time: Broadstreet 55 Stockport 24.
Thought for The Game: Facing relegation, Stockport is in the same situation that ‘Street has been in twice before – up and down in a season. This time round, player Management and the players have taken ‘Street one step further, in staying up for a second season. Congratulations to one and all! Those of us behind the scenes must muster the same fortitude displayed by ‘Street players in recovering from a bad first half of the season and also recognise the dogged determination shown by the Stockport players in fighting on, even though the survival game was up for them. Let’s trust you bounce back Stockport! Well done ‘Street!
Squad: Andrew Murray; Jefferey Gregson, Beau Carney, James Otutaha, Nathan Tilsley; Ben Cooper, Nick Thatcher; Jake Dodd, Michael Worthington, Henry Sandys; Aaron Crofts, Matthew Solomon; Gareth Turner, Dan Martin, Jack Gibbons. Joe Foreman, Stewart Pearl, Callum Tucker, Sam Gibbons, Jamie Harrop.