Longton 1st XV 39 v 14 Mosely
Longton picked up an invaluable first win of the season, with a 5 point haul, against second from bottom Moseley Oak, scoring a comprehensive 39 – 14pts. win at Trentham Fields to equal their opponents points tally for the season.
The home team were without leading try scorer, Sam Evans, and centre, Hamish McIntosh, but welcomed back a fit-again George Glenn, back row, Mickey Allen, and second row, Rich Thompson.
Longton made a fine start by dominating possession and territory for the first 5 minutes of the match and were duly rewarded with a try from Ben Turner, which Scott Rawlings converted for a 7pts. to nil lead.
The hosts continued their domination and went further ahead when a Scott Rawlings break led to a try for Mickey Allen. The conversion missed but it was 12pts. to nil.
Longton were now playing with increasing confidence showing some excellent handling and their forwards dominating the set scrums. They went further ahead on 24mins. as the ball was spun out wide through several pairs of hands before being switched back inside for Scott Rawlings to score the third try; the conversion was unsuccessful making it 17 – 0pts.
Moseley Oak finally began to win some ball and moved it to their impressive back division which included former Longton player, Taz Wara in the centre. They finally put their first score on the board in the 32nd. minute. Longton conceded two penalties, plus a 10m. advance. The visitors took a quick tap and moved the ball right at pace to go over for their first try and with the conversion made it 12 – 7pts. Then, with half-time approaching, they scored their second try; a kick ahead was allowed to bounce a couple of times by the home defence enabling Moseley Oak to create a try after three passes. Again, the conversion was successful making it 17 – 14pts. in a half which Longton had largely dominated. However, in the 40th. minute they kicked a penalty to the corner and after a scrum was awarded following a collapsed drive from the lineout, they drove over with impressive No.8, Pete Wilshaw, getting the touchdown. The conversion was unsuccessful but Longton led by 22 – 14pts. at the break.
The Longton pack had been in total command in the set pieces and won quick ball after 9mins. of the second half. From a scrum on halfway back row, Mickey Allen, another to have an excellent game, picked up the ball and brushed off several would-be tacklers before running 40m. to dive over near the corner for a wonderful opportunist try. The conversion from wide out failed, leaving Longton 27 – 14pts. ahead. The next 20mins. saw the hosts pressing for a fourth try but the visitors’ defence held firm.
With 32mins. gone Moseley Oak had a scrum in their own “22” and as they moved the ball wide Ben Turner intercepted a pass and ran in unopposed under the posts. Scott Rawlings converted to make the score 34 – 14pts. leaving Longton in a strong position for the last few minutes. Then, to round off a fine all round performance Longton added a final try from a 5m. scrum. As the pack drove over the line No8, Pete Wilshaw, who was clearly man-of-the-match, touched down for the seventh try. The conversion failed leaving the final score at 39 – 14pts.
This was without doubt Longton’s best performance of the season; a dominant pack, much-improved tackling by the backs and some excellent handling and running. Despite having scored more match points and conceding fewer points than Moseley Oak Longton remain at the bottom of the table as today’s opponents have two wins to Longton’s one. However, on this form Longton must surely start to climb the table.