In a high-scoring, topsy-turvy battle at Trentham Fields Longton managed to hang on for a nervy win by 40 – 33pts. against Moseley Oak and so pick up an invaluable 5 points.
The hosts were without a number of players including skipper, Rich Thompson, Gareth Rawlings, George Glenn, Sam Bedworth, Ant Cornwall and Martin Ellis but battled hard throughout, overcoming numerous handling errors, some poor tackling and again conceding too many penalties.
Ricky Bentley made his debut in the 2nd.row and performed well. Also, in the pack Pete Wilshaw was a superb ball-carrier and Paul Housley made some strong runs at the visitors’ defence.
Moseley Oak were the first to score in the 13th. minute. From a scrum 5m. from the Longton line they took a strike against the head and scored a simple try. The conversion was good making it 7pts to nil. Longton came straight and scored their opening try almost immediately. They attacked down the left flank where Ricky Bentley took the ball at pace and sliced through the defence for an excellent try. Joe Hall converted to level the scores at 7pts.all.
The next score came after 18mins. when the ball was moved left. Two passes and 3 missed tackles later and Moseley Oak took the lead with a converted try to make it 14-7pts. The next score also came from the visitors after 25mins. From a scrum the ball was moved left and then a strong run through the middle produced a third try. The conversion made it 21-7pts. with Longton staring down the barrel of a second home defeat.
However, 5mins. later Longton scored their 2nd. Try. The ball went out through the backs to James Mountford who touched down. Joe Hall converted with a superb kick to make it 21-14pts. Just 4mins. later Moseley Oak scored their 4th. and bonus point try when a whole series of missed tackles contributed to the score. Again, the conversion was good making the score 28-14pts. Then, right on half-time Longton scored their third try from Mark Dougherty with a finely angled run. Joe Hall converted to make the half-time score 28-21pts. with all to play for in the second half.
Longton now had the slight wind in their favour and so began a period of domination. The only relief for the visitors was Longton continuing to make passing and handling errors. With 10mins. gone, 5m. from the away line Joe Hall burst through the defence for a fine try but his conversion from wide out fell just short making the score 28-26pts.to the visitors.
Thirteen minutes into the half the ball was run right by Longton and Paul Housley charged through for the try. Joe Hall converted to put Longton ahead for the first time at 33-28pts. The next score also came Longton’s way with a fine try. Starting in their own half Pete Wilshaw, who was having a fine match, set off up the middle bursting through several tackles in a typical barnstorming run before delivering a deft one-handed pass to the supporting Paul Housley and he charged in from 25m. to touch down under the posts making Joe Hall’s conversion simpler. It was now 40-28pts. with time running out and Longton two scores ahead looking at a 5 point victory.
Moseley Oak were not finished though and they scored their 5th. try with 4mins. of normal time remaining but the missed conversion meant that they had to score a converted try to level the scores.
As the final minutes were played out Longton withstood some pressure from the visitors but managed to counter attack and finished the game in the away “22” to register a 40-33pts. win.
This was an invaluable 5 points with the mouth watering prospect of a pre-Christmas game at Newcastle next week.