Midlands 2 West (N) 
26th March 2022, 3:00 pm
Longton 1st XV
52 - 19
Longton Rugby Club

Match Report

In front of a large crowd, swelled by former players who had enjoyed a pre-match lunch, Longton were comfortable winners against local rivals, Newcastle, by 52pts. to 19.

The hosts started strongly and were soon in front after only 6mins. The forwards applied pressure in the visitors’”22” before releasing the ball to the backs. Quick hands out right saw James Mountford dive over in the corner for the opening try. Grant Hallam’s conversion drifted just wide but Longton led by 5pts. to nil. Only 4 mins. later Longton scored their second try. The forwards drove hard towards the try line for hooker, Christian Prince, to crash over. Grant Hallam converted with a superb kick from the touchline putting Longton ahead by 12pts. to nil. Newcastle though were now working their way into the game as they launched a series of attacks aided by Longton conceding a number of penalties. With 28mins. gone they managed to pierce the Longton defence with some good handling by their backs, resulting in a try; the conversion was good making the score 12-7pts.

As half-time approached Longton finally began to regain some control over the game. The forwards provided good quick ball for fly-half, Tom Hughes, to side-step his way passed defenders to go over for his side’s 3rd. try. Grant Hallam converted with a fine kick to make the half-time score 19-7pts. The second half was only 5mins. old when a perfectly judged kick from Grant Hallam went into touch only a few metres from the visitors’ try line. The forwards then took over with some strong ball carrying enabling skipper, Pete Wilshaw to plunge over the line for a fine try. Grant Hallam’s successful conversion from wide out made the score 26-7pts. Just 6mins. later Longton scored again. This time the backs took control as scrum- half, Daryl Banton, whipped a beautiful pass out to Tom Hughes. The ball was then passed quickly by centres, Joe Hall and Henry Knox, for winger James Mountford to scorch over for a superb try. Again, Grant Hallam converted with a fine kick to make the score 33-7pts. Only 3mins. later Newcastle scored their second try through their lively backs, aided by a couple of missed tackles by Longton. The successful conversion made the score 33-14pts.

Just when it seemed as though Longton had taken their foot off the gas they suddenly sparked into life again. On 23mins. a pushover try by their pack and a conversion by Grant Hallam made it 40-14pts. Only 5mins. later Longton scored again when centre, Henry Knox, finished off a fine backs’ move to run in for the try. Grant Hallam converted to make the score 47-14pts. With just 5mins. left Longton scored again. Quick ball from the pack saw the backs move some well-timed passes out to winger, James Mountford, to score. The conversion was somewhat controversially ruled wide but Longton led by 52-14pts. With almost the last play of the match and with Longton relaxing their grip, Newcastle did manage to score a final try to make it 52-19pts.

Next week Longton travel to bottom club Old Saltleians where they will be hoping for a repeat of today’s performance.

M Wheat.