For Broadstreet Rugby Football Club’s last away fixture of 2014, which happened to be their tenth and last away game of the first half of the 2014-15 league campaign, they travelled to Cheshire for their first-ever visit to Stockport Rugby Union Football Club’s Headlands Road Memorial Ground in Bramhall, to take a maximum five league points, with an emphatic 3 – 39 win, in a bottom of the table showdown. This was ‘Street’s fourth consecutive victory, after a disastrous start to the campaign, and gives temporary respite in lifting them to eleventh place in the league table writes Bob Harcourt.
Callum Tucker with a cold and his replacement, fit again Aaron Crofts being unable to make the meet time, a debut call up for Coventry University student, Piotr Wisniewski gave the nineteen year Poland under 18 winger/utility player a taste of 1A hasty Saturday morning shuffle, due the late withdrawal of lock st XV rugby. Director of Rugby Paul Harcourt commented; “Our season so far has seen the introduction of several excellent young players into the squad; none of whom have been found wanting. I am confident that Piotr will not be any different”.
Stockport, who trail at the bottom of the table in sixteenth position; having won just a single game at home to Huddersfield, understandably earmarked this home fixture as a potential win, with ‘Street only two places above them and; the Cheshire club’s dogged contribution to the encounter reflected their great determination to succeed, as they battled throughout, especially downhill in the first half. Eventually, the visitors took charge and raced away in the fourth quarter to rack up three tries through a Penalty try, Beau Carney and Ashley Elvers; adding to two first half touch downs by wingers Ashley Elvers (eight minutes) and Josh Palmer (38 minutes) and, with other scores going begging as Stockport tired and the breaks came, the scoring, one feels, could have been greater.
The first half, playing down a considerable slope, Stockport used their turf familiarity in kicking to tricky corners and commendably keeping possession for longish phases, but they were unable to unlock ‘Street’s defence, as the ball was swept left and right without actually going anywhere. Patience produced mistakes and turnovers and the scoreboard benefitted from an early Ben Palmer penalty, 0 – 3; followed by an eighth minute try from a classic in-out winger’s run in by Ashley Elvers down the right, following a timed pass from flanker Carney; ably converted by Palmer, 0 – 10. Stockport’s Mark Edwards pulled back three points around the half hour after missing one ten minutes earlier. Then ‘Street centre Nathan Tilsley turned over home possession, passed on to Pierre Ferre who returned to Tilsley to put winger Josh Palmer away up the left flank for a well taken five points, unfortunately, brother Ben narrowly failed with the conversion; again from near the touch line. A baffling decision saw ‘Street’s scrum half, Pierre Ferre, yellow carded for going through the ruck, well after the ‘Port nine had picked up the ball and was hesitating to pass. This did not even warrant a penalty, let alone a yellow card, and part justice prevailed when Edwards missed the forty metre shot at goal.
Half Time: Stockport 3 – Broadstreet 15.
Stockport restarted with a long kick and within minutes ‘Street lost Beau Carney to a ‘team’ yellow, reducing ‘Street to thirteen players for penalties conceded in the visitor’s 22 metre area. Stockport opted to run the penalty from close in near to the posts, but ‘Street’s defence (which was disciplined all afternoon) would have none of it as they held out to clear through replacement scrum half Nick ‘Artful dodger’ Thatcher breaking and kicking downfield where he should have been awarded the turnover, as the defender failed to release, one on one in the tackle. Given a scrum, ‘Street built the phases before flanker Dan Martin broke clear; only to fire his pass into touch seven metres out denying unmarked wing, Josh Palmer, a certain score. Nevertheless, five minutes later, after increasing their share of possession, a penalty award inside Stockport territory saw Ben Palmer slot his second three-pointer for a heathier 3 – 18 lead. ‘Street’s scrums were now winning penalties and taking ball against the head as Stockport’s pack waned and eventually conceded a Penalty try, converted by Ben Palmer, going into the last fifteen minutes of the game; 3 - 25. A minute or two later, another retreating scrum turnover saw, back on the field Captain, Beau Carney, capping off another industrious performance with a try, as he picked up at the back to go over untouched. Ben ‘the Boot’ Palmer provided the extra two; 3 – 32 and still ten minutes to go, but with daylight fading fast. Good hands following a Thatcher break found centre James Otutaha whose pass released Elvers to gallop in from nearly halfway for his second of the day; converted by Palmer; 3 - 39. He was away again within minutes and looked to be home and dry, but for a great chase back by Stockport’s outstanding man of the match, left wing Elliot Fletcher, who prevented a certain score with a great tackle under the shadow of the posts. Shortly after, with the visitors now rampant, ‘Street’s left wing, Josh Palmer, out-paced the cover, only to lose the ball on the ground over the line as the whistle was blown for no side.
Final Score: Stockport 3 Broadstreet 39
Squad: Andy Murray; Ashley Elvers, Nathan Tilsley, James Otutaha, Josh Palmer; Ben Palmer, Pierre Ferre; Henry Sandys, Stewart Pearl, Jake Dodd; Roan van Heerden, Matthew Solomon; Dan Martin, Beau Carney (Captain), Chris Wood. Joe Foreman, Alex Beddows, Piotr Wisniewski, Nick Thatcher, Luke Myring.
Thought for the Match:
There was a suggestion that we made hard work of this win, but with Stockport ‘up’ for this game; it would be presumptuous to think that they should just roll over because they are at the foot of the table. Just think how many lost match performances this season we’ve felt were not a true reflection of our ability? No team gets to this level without qualification and no one stays without a fight. Stockport players have fighting spirit and showed that they, like us four games ago, won’t give up! As Mrs Freemantle often says: “Let the mind rule the rugby and let’s not be distracted by bulls - - -“! Yes Ma’am!