After a consistent good performance last week against Old Northamptonians a number of changes to the line-up, especially in the forwards, meant that it felt like we were back to square one again for the trip to Longton. Congratulations must go to Tom Greevy who is celebrating the birth of his second son Theo (9lb 8 oz), however his absence along with fellow 2nd row Nick Pratt (working in France) meant that a hasty call to 18 year old Dan Staunton at Manchester University was made to in order find a partner for Mike Bednell. Romey Vassell made his first start of the season at 13 as cover for Jordan Simpson who has once again been one of the stand out players of the season so far but found himself at Disneyland for the weekend. Last weeks MoM Stew Hendry was ruled out by our physio with a shoulder injury so 17 year old (future tighthead) Alex Beddows stepped up to make his 2nd start of the season in the backrow whilst Dave Roff and Ed Mbaraga came into the squad on the bench writes Luke Truslove.
It is probably no surprise that with such chopping and changing we did not begin this match as we finished the last, and from the start Longton seemed to be able to find gaps and break through our defence with ease and this resulted in a try by their winger Alex George after just 3 minutes, converted by Longton fly-half Chris Buck. Unfortunately this short, sharp shock did not have the required effect and 'Street continued after the restart in the same laxidasical manner which once more encouraged the Longton side to run riot, breaking tackles and encroaching on the Broadstreet try-line. A 5 minute series of penalties caused by poor Broadstreet scrummaging led to more penalties, more poor scrummaging and finally a Longton pushover try earned completely by the large Longton pack but scored by Number 8 Joel Booth. 12-0
Romey Vassell received a yellow card for a late tackle on the scrum-half after he had kicked the ball which, combined with the referee's decision not to stop play for a bad injury to youngster Beddows in the next play, meant that Broadstreet were forced to play with 13 men for a period of time whilst the 'Street physio treated the fallen man on the pitch. Needless to say that did not end well for Broadstreet and a powerful driving maul from Longton led to them making 20 metres and a 3rd try through flanker Keiran Healy. Small consolation that Chris Buck could not add the extras. 17-0
Longton secured the bonus point try soon after to complete a nightmare first 30 minutes for Broadstreet, a returned kick was passed to 19 stone inside centre Scott Rawlings who made light work of 2 attempted tacklers and charged the ball up from the 40 metre line to the Broadstreet 22. A nice touch from Rawlings to front row forward Craig Wilson left the Longton skipper with 20 metres and couple of covering backs to beat, however the hooker/prop showed surprising speed and made it to the try-line untouched with the two defenders laying embarassed on the floor and choking on GAS! 24-0
With a couple of minutes of the first half remaining Broadstreet finally came alive, making a rare assault on the Longton half a series of offloads between the forwards interchanging with some strong lines off the scrum-half and ten produced possibly the best move of the game. The final pass from Nick Thatcher to Ziggy Zutic just inside the Longton 22 broke the recovering defensive line and left only the Full back to beat. Conversion Scott Harman.
Broadstreet emerged for the 2nd half a completely different looking team, the forwards in particular seemed determined to take the game to a larger Longton pack who had taught them a lesson in the 1st half. Indeed the Broadstreet pack almost over did it, camping in the Longton 22 for the first 20 minutes of the half they continued a fast off-loading game which was effective but hard to maintain in the wet windy weather and quite often the move broke down in crucial positions whilst the Broadstreet backs looked on in frustration. When the 'Street backs did get a look-in they were dangerous, Romey Vassell was close to scoring but left the ball behind as he raced towards the line and Jon Duncan claimed Broadstreet's 2nd try of the match picking a superb angle down the blind-side to break a tackle and score from 15 metres with 15 minutes to go. Unfortunately Harman missed the conversion. 24-12
At this point the Broadstreet bench were feeling confident and 'Street were quick to press once more into the Longton half, however as before it was slow going and Longton were not as easy to breakdown as Broadstreet were in the 1st half. After 10 minutes of prolonged pressure and with time fast running out Broadstreet let their control slip and more errors were appearing as they tried to force their way down the pitch, Longton took advantage of this situation and worked their way up field with Broadstreet ruing chances lost and the possibility to take home anything from the match. With the play drifting into injury time some more dynamic running from centre Scott Rawlings took Longton into an attacking position and after a few more phases he was on hand out wide to collect the ball, crash through 2 almost tackles and cap off the match with a very good individual try.
MotM - Despite not featuring much in this report Ben "The Penguin" Dawes had a strong match, instrumental in Broadstreet's pick'n'go period which earned them almost 90% territory in the 2nd half. He also made a number of one on one tackles on Longton's strong runners where others failed, exhibiting a full 80 minute performance from the big man.
DotD - A number of contenders for this mainly focusing on missed tackles, however from a shortlist of 3 howlers a democratic vote on the team bus on the way back means that fly-half Scott Harman gets the booby prize for getting gassed by Longton's front row hooker/prop in a 22 metre race to the try-line.