Longton RUFC Match Preview
National 3 Midlands, Saturday 14th September 2013.
Scunthorpe 1st XV v Longton 1st XV
Following last weeks opening day derby victory over Sandbach, Longton head to old friends Scunthorpe for what is sure to be a very testing game in National 3 Midlands.
Longton have played league fixtures against Scunthorpe off and on for a number of seasons and the games are always hard fought, competitive and usually quite high scoring.
The Heslam Park boys looked doomed to relegation last season but won their last 5 games, some in scintillating style to eventually finish clear of the drop zone. Ironically, they didn’t actually need to worry as only 2 teams were relegated, meaning that Syston were somewhat fortuitously spared. However, the confidence and self belief gained from that run of victories will have stood them in good stead, and coach Tim Robinson will be looking for his young squad to take further steps forward this season.
Scunthorpe’s 2 key men have remained the same for a number of seasons. Fly half and skipper Tom Foster and kiwi winger Rewiti ‘Woody’ Vaimoso are amongst the leagues most dangerous runners with ball in hand and often make space for others around them. They are complemented now by some excellent up and coming players including number 8 Jake Barron, who is on the books at Nottingham and a young but maturing tight 5.
Sadly, they will be missing one of these up and coming forwards, Matthew Probert who was the victim of a shocking assault in Lincoln a couple of weeks ago. We believe that Matthew is now at home and on the road to recovery and so everyone at Longton RUFC wishes him all the very best and hope to see him back on the field soon.
Longton were largely happy with last weeks opening day victory, but acknowledge that there is still some rust to knock off. New signings Lee Brogan, Josh Fowles, Gareth Rawlings and Liam Price all made significant contributions, giving the side a very strong look which bodes well for the season.
One of the most pleasing aspects of last week’s performance was the intensity and organisation of the defence. Sandbach toiled for most of the day against the wall of black jerseys and registered their only score when Longton were down to 13 men. That defence will need to be every bit as organised as last week because games between the 2 sides at Heslam Park are notoriously high scoring, with Scunthorpe prevailing 36-33 last year thanks to a last minute penalty try.
The Lincolnshire men also scored 31 points, including a 4 try bonus in defeat at Hinckley, although the 51 points conceded suggests that they need to tighten their game up defensively.
Longton’s squad again has a familiar look to it this week, with just the one change to the starting lineup. Second row Rich Thompson has work commitments, so Kieran Healey steps up from the bench into the second row, with Zack Heath coming in on the bench. Other than that it is the same squad as last week as the coaches look to reward strong training and match day performances.
Skipper Luke Fowles and flying winger Chris Tennuci are both ready for their 2013/14 season bows and take their place in a strong Development XV that takes on Stafford 2nds.
Josh Fowles who scored an excellent try and was dangerous all day on his debut last week.
15 Grant Hallam
14 Josh Fowles
13 Liam Price
12 Scott Rawlings
11 Ethan Clowes
10 Lee Brogan
9 Chris Moors
8 Gareth Rawlings
7 Francis Nock
6 Joel Booth
5 Oli Green
4 Kieran Healey
3 Joe Newton Taylor
2 Craig Wilson
1 Tim Wareham
16 Christian Prince
17 Zack Heath
18 Tom Scragg