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Longton 1st XV 17 v 43 Dudley
Longton faced a tough home game against top four team, Dudley Kingswinford, and were without second rows, Rich Thompson and Martin Ellis ( both working ) and influential flanker, Mickey Allen ( injured ) but welcomed back leading try scorer, Sam Evans, to the wing.
Longton started very promisingly and dominated the first 15 minutes. It was no surprise when they took the lead after 4mins. From a scrum in their own half the ball was moved left to Sam Evans who then set off on a blistering 70m. run, beating five defenders on a mazey sprint to the corner where he touched down for a superb opening try. The difficult conversion from Sam Bedworth just missed but the hosts led by 5 – 0pts.
In the next 10mins. Longton continued to have the upper hand, their pack totally dominating the scrums, led by debutant prop, John Bowen-Davies, who added some much needed bulk. He also proved to be a powerful ball-carrier.
Longton increased their lead after 25mins. when, following several scrums within a few metres of the try line, Scott Rawlings threw a long pass left to the waiting Sam Evans who scampered in at the corner for his second try. Again, the very difficult conversion missed but Longton now led by 10 – 0pts.
Then, after 28mins. the momentum of the game swung in favour of Dudley Kingswinford. From a scrum in the Longton “22” the ball went quickly right producing a try in the corner. The conversion failed making it 10 – 5pts.
With 5mins. to go before half-time Dudley K went wide right to again go in at the corner. Again, no conversion but the score was now level at 10pts. each as half-time was reached with all to play for.
However, the second half was only 6mins. old when the visitors took the lead. The ball was switched back in the centre and aided by several missed tackles in mid-field the third try resulted. This time the conversion was good giving Dudley K the lead for the first time at 17 – 10pts. From this point on the visitors started to dominate possession, aided by a high error count by Longton.
After 14mins. the fourth try came as the Dudley K backs’ deft footwork led to the score. The conversion made it 24 – 10pts. Three minutes later some gaping gaps in the Longton defence gifted a try. The conversion failed taking the score to 29 – 10pts.
Although the visitors enjoyed the bulk of possession for the next 23 minutes there was no further scoring. As the clock reached 40mins. Longton lost their own lineout
throw enabling Dudley K to push a kick out to the wide left where their speedy left wing snapped it up to scamper in for the try. The conversion was good making it 36 – 10pts.
Six minutes into overtime, with Longton attacking, and trying to get the final score of the game, a pass was intercepted by the grateful visitors to score again with a try under the posts. The conversion was good to go 43- 10pts.in front; a minute later Longton did score a consolation try. The ball was kicked through for Scott Rawlings to collect and brush aside several attempted tackles to touch down. He converted his own try to make the final score 43 – 17pts., leaving Longton a mountain to climb to avoid relegation.
Second half injuries to Sam Evans and Sam Bedworth, the former looking most serious, did not help the Longton cause; a highlight of the losers’ performance was undoubtedly that of tight-head prop, John Bowen-Davies who was a powerhouse in the scrums and a strong ball carrier in open play.
Next week Longton travel to Hereford, always a difficult venue to visit.