Date: 19 December 2017


PGRFC 5th XV 35-31 PGRFC 6th XV

The early curtain raiser for the festive celebrations at Lightfoot Lane on a cold day was a hard-fought match between the 5ths and the 6ths teams of the mighty Hoppers club. The 5ths team captain Mick Mortimer had a problem of having more than 25 players for this fixture whether it was the inter club bragging rights or the beer on offer at the end of the match only they will know.

The 5ths took an early lead after a mazy run by fullback Olli Topping whose match ended there after a hard tackle by Bob Legit which left the young fullback with a stinger in the shoulder. The next phase the 6ths were penalised for hands in the ruck, which was a common penalty through the match. DJ dispatched the penalty to give an early lead.

From the kick off, the returning Bobby Parker caught the ball on the full around the 30-metre mark and went on a mazy run. He managed to avoid numerous tackles and even managed to bump former first team skipper John ‘JP’ Peterson in the process. With the full back to beat he chipped over the top and then promptly lost the race to the ball as it landed in the in-goal area.

The first try of the match soon came from an excellent team move finished off by Danny Whalley. The 5ths produced a move which started on the 40-metre line, Ben ‘Ben 10’ Markland passed the ball onto the left for Chris Jenkins, who was doubling up playing for the first half for the 5ths then going with the 4ths to play Chorley away. Through an angled run he got to the 6ths 40 metre line then offloaded in the tackle to the supporting Danny Whalley who skipped through two would be attempted tackles to score, despite the best efforts of JP in the in-goal area. Ben 10 missed the conversion.

The young centre for the 6ths Jamie managed to get through a hole and was bundled into touch by Danny Whalley and replacement fullback Matt Elliott. This sparked the 6ths into action where they enjoyed some pressure camped in the 5ths 22. They soon made the breakthrough from barnstorming Bob Legit from a scrum. This was soon followed by a penalty for the 5ths being offside at a ruck.

However, the ebb and flow nature of the contest continued when Martin ‘Tinny’ Taylor scored before the break, through a trademark interception. The 6ths was trying to set up a counter attack on their 40-metre lane, when a pass went into the hands of Tinny who motored away and evaded the would-be defenders to dot the ball down under the sticks to give Ben 10 the easiest of conversions and to give the 5ths the upper hand at the break 15-10.

The second half was possibly even more exciting than the first half with the lead changing hands several times. The 6ths soon scored after the break to give them the lead for the first time in the match. The youngster Jamie managed to score in the corner through a powerful run in the middle of the park. Controversially he appeared to bobble when he grounded but this wasn’t spotted by the official who unfortunately from the 5ths point of view was unable to refer the try to the TMO. The try was converted to give the 6ths the lead for the first time.

Lee Carruthers soon restored the lead for the 5ths, from a tap penalty for hands in the ruck he received the ball on the 22-metre line. He was followed by Will Davies for support, but Lee didn’t need Will as he knocked any member of the 6th team out of the way who even contemplated tackling him. He finished this by doing the hop, skip and jump over the line and dotting it down between the sticks. This made the conversion as easy as possible for DJ to convert who came on for Will Douglas who was another member of the social sides who played the first half for the 5ths before travelling with the 4ths.

From the kick-off Jamie “landed” himself in trouble as Benn ‘Trigger’ Rigg jumped for the ball and Jamie tackled him in the air. To his credit Trigger got up almost immediately and only a penalty was given. Jamie quickly redeemed himself as he scored a further try after another powerful run which was converted to give the 6ths the lead again 24-22.

But in a carbon copy of the first half, the poacher that is Tinny scored another interception, as he went through the 6th team defence untouched and scored under the sticks. DJ added the conversion to make it 29 -24 to the 5ths.

Lee Carruthers thought he has put Tinny in for his hat trick try. A strong carry again by Lee left several 6th team members in his wake. When he was eventually stopped he popped a pass to Tinny, who he thought was open. Unfortunately, what he didn’t see was a now wise defence coming across and they swarmed over the effervescent winger.

This escape galvanised the 6ths and soon they were mounting pressure on the 5ths try line. After several scrums, the skipper Andy Perman scored through a scrum move to give the 6ths the lead once more at 31-29 with only 10 minutes left.

The 5ths though knew there was time left to mount yet another comeback. Skipper on the pitch Trigger ensured the team kept their composure and was built pressure on the 6th team. Soon a penalty came through hands in the ruck but DJ narrowly missed the kick at goal. The 5ths bounced back from that body blow. DJ (with Jonny Wilkinson like mental fortitude) soon made amends by slotting a trickier kick at goal which just dropped over the bar. The penalty was awarded against that old warhorse Ian Gaskill for lying on the wrong side of a ruck and for not making any attempt to move. This gave the “home” side a slender lead of 32-31.

The 5ths were soon again in the 6ths 22 and a further penalty was awarded for hands in the ruck. With people getting excited Trigger calmed everyone down and pointed to the sticks which DJ put over with what was virtually the last kick of the match.

For skipper Mick Mortimer the beer tasted better in the bar as this was a first victory this season under his stewardship. A thoroughly entertaining match for everybody involved and spectators alike. This result gave the 5ths their second victory over the 6th team this season. A special mention needs to be said for Will Douglas for playing the first half before playing for the 4ths and Chris Jenkins who also made his debut for the 4ths as well.

Man of the match DJ (Thomas Davies) for keeping calm when the pressure was on at the end of the match. Impressive kicking for a prop.

Twit of the Day – Callum Burnes for getting the start he wanted and earned. Then only lasting all of 3 and a half minutes.

Reporter: Chris Nuttall

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