Longton 1st XV 43 v 5 Malvern
In this clash of the bottom two in the league Longton ran out comfortable winners by 43pts. to 5.
Both teams had a number of regular players missing, the home team being without second rows Rich Thompson and Martin Ellis, plus back row man Mickey Allen but did welcome back leading try scorer, Sam Evans, after his marriage last week; he had a fine game most notably in defence where he put in a number of superb crunching tackles.
The outcome of the game though was never really in doubt after Longton opened the scoring in the 8th. minute. The ball was moved wide left from inside their own half to left wing, Mark Dougherty and he outstripped the defence to touch down. The difficult conversion missed but Longton led by 5pts. to nil.
The next 20mins. were evenly contested with neither side creating any real scoring opportunities. Then, in the 29th. minute Longton stole the ball from Malvern in midfield. Scott Rawlings took the ball at pace and scored a fine try. Once again, the difficult conversion into the strong crosswind missed and Longton now led by 10pts. to nil.
Again, a period of stalemate took care of the next 15mins. as the game entered stoppage time in the first half. Then, Eroni Lequai, who had an outstanding game at No.8 on his return to the side, picked up the ball and charged through the middle of the defence before delivering a deft pass to second row, Paul Housley, another outstanding performer. He then sprinted through for an excellent try. Sam Bedworth converted to make the half-time score 17pts. to nil.
The strong crosswind marginally favoured Longton in the second half and they took immediate advantage. There were a number of attacks in the Malvern “22” before the visitors managed to secure possession but Longton countered through Scott Rawlings strong run before he passed to Mark Dougherty to score his second try. The conversion from Sam Bedworth just missed and Longton now led by 22pts. to nil.
Malvern kicked out of defence on resumption of play but Longton countered through Scott Rawlings before he slipped a short pass to a supporting Sam Evans to score the 5th. try. Sam Bedworth’s conversion was good making it 29 – 0pts.
It was not until the 29th. minute that the next score came. This time Through Eroni Lequai who bettered his way through several defenders in a powerful 25m. run before touching down. Sam Bedworth converted taking Longton into an unassailable 36 – 0pts. lead.
In the 25th. minute Paul Housely caught the kick –off after the previous try and ran through a dispirited opposition defence to score a brilliant solo try which Sam Bedworth converted to make it 43 – 0pts.
For the last 15mins. Longton took their foot off the gas and seemed content with their big lead. With just under 5mins. to go Malvern did score a consolation try as they moved the ball left to eventually create a one man overlap to touch down wide left. The conversion missed leaving the final score at 43 – 5pts. and a valuable 5pts. for Longton.
This was an excellent display from a patched up Longton side and with over 40 former players watching after a pre-match lunch, was a timely performance.