Midlands 2 West (N) 
30th October 2021, 3:00 pm
Longton 1st XV
28 - 21
Crewe & Nantwich
Longton Rugby Club

Match Report

Longton eventually overcome an impressive Crewe and Nantwich side by 28pts. to 21 picking up five points into the bargain. The expected domination of a big Longton pack did not materialise with Crewe and Nantwich being very tight in their scrummaging. Where Longton did dominate was in the lineout where their five options to throw to offered plenty of variation as well as threatening the visitors’ throw-ins. Ricky Bentley, Gaz Rawlings, Pete Wilshaw, Adam Ridge and Rich Thompson all took a number of clean catches as well as challenging the opposition throw, Ricky Bentley being particularly outstanding on Longton’s ball.

It took Longton only 7mins. to put the first score on the board, Joe Hall landing a penalty from in front of the posts for a 3pt. lead. Then, only 5mins. later the first try came through newcomer, Sam Dumigan who broke through the defence with a powerful surge. The conversion from wide-out was just wide but Longton now led by 8pts. to nil. It took just 12 more minutes of Longton domination to see the next try come. The ball was moved wide at pace for a try in the corner by Josh Powell. Joe Hall’s kick from the touchline went just wide leaving ahead  by 13pts. to nil and seemingly cruising along towards an easy win at 13pts. to nil. However, the visitors had other ideas as they fought their way back into the match with some fast running back play and good handling. With quick ball from a scrum Caldwell whipped the ball out for the backs to show quick hands and a turn of pace to enable Harper to run in for the score. The successful conversion made it 13-7pts., and game-on. The visitors recognised that if they were going ot win it had to be through their impressive backs.

With just 2mins. of the half remaining a speedy break in the backs from a scrum saw the ball spread wide to the and a cut-back saw the ball dotted down under the posts; the successful conversion took Crewe and Nantwich into the break 14-13pts. ahead in a first half largely dominated by the home team.

Longton came out for the second-half with the slight wind and slope in the favour and soon took play deep into the visitors’ “22”. In desperation Crewe and Nantwich conceded a penalty in front of the posts which was successfully landed to give Longton a narrow 16-14pts. lead. The home team were now controlling most of the ball and should have added to their score on several occasions but handling errors and turnover ball prevented the inevitable scores from coming.

Then, as the Longton pack drove forward towards the “22” flanker, Pete Wilshaw, ran powerfully forward  crashing though several would-be tacklers to score a superb try. The successful conversion made it 23 -14pts., a lead of two scores. However, with just 5mins. left the visitors ran the ball from their own half to score just to the left of the posts The conversion was good and it was now 23-21pts. and a tense finish in order. Longton though took play deep into the visitors’ “22”  from which a penalty resulted in Longton kicking into the corner. From the lineout Gaz Rawlings seized the ball to force his way over for a fine try. The conversion was unsuccessful  putting Longton 28-21pts. up.

As injury time played out Longton won a lineout on half-way out and scrum-half, Jordan Hough, who had a very promising debut kicked into touch for the game to end. Longton took 5pts. with their four try 28-21pts. win. The only blight was injuries to Joe Hall and  Ant Cornwell before their trip to high-flying, Leek.

M Wheat.