PGRFC 5th XV 26-18 COLNE & NELSON 2nd XV
Report by Chris “The News” Nuttall
Whilst the first team were collecting their trophy after an almost faultless season, the 5th team of Preston Grasshoppers were playing Colne and Nelson 2s for the third time this season. After two victories over the Colne side already this season, acting skipper for the injured Mick ‘ouch my head hurts again’ Mortimer was Mark ‘Honest my neck will last the full match honest’ Singleton who was confident his side would make it a clean sweep against the away side.
At the start of the week both sides were struggling for numbers to fulfil the fixture but a late spurt of available players enabled the match to go ahead, albeit on a pitch that had the potential to recreate the famous Sir Tom Finney splash picture.
The match started in a scruffy fashion which set the tone for the full 80 minutes. The Colne side was deep in the Hoppers half before the referee adjudged DJ to be offside. The Colne fly half slotted the penalty to give them a 0-3 lead. The match started to get niggly as familiarisation brought contempt, the niggle and chatting to the referee from both sides brought a strong telling off to both captains.
Colne nearly scored the first try of the match. A penalty to the Colne side deep in their own 22 was run with the Hoppers defenders slow to get back the 10. Colne went through a gap, Rick Barnes managed to get to the man just inside the Hoppers half but was too late as the Colne player managed to offload it to oncoming support. He carried on running to the corner as the full back Jay Plummer chased across. Jay managed to tackle the player before he got to the try line. Fortunately for the home side Jay got to his feet and managed to earn a penalty from the referee for the Colne player holding on.
Chris ‘Tea Bag’ Teasdale and new guy Carl were playing in unfamiliar positions on either side of the flanks of the scrum and were both having a stormer. This was no doubt down to the tutelage of Tony ‘Most Improved’ Callaghan, who was making a guest appearance for the 5ths at 8. Mick ‘Tactician’ Mortimer coaching from the side lines after his head injury made a substitute and brought off winger Lawrence ‘Typhoon’ Howard and put the winger turned flanker Chris back to his usual position of the wing. After about 15 minutes the Colne side were reduced to 14 men temporarily as the effervescent, yet short fullback Jay Plummer leapt for a kick and was taken out in the air. Fortunately for Colne Jay got to his feet straight away and the guilty party received only a lenient yellow card.
Towards the end of the sin bin period the home side made their extra numbers count. The ball came out of a ruck quickly, Ian Gaskill produced a delicate pass to DJ which wouldn’t have gone a miss at Deepdale. DJ passed quickly to Rick ‘My missus has played more matches than me this season’ Barnes who ran at the Colne defence. He bounced off two would be defenders before drawing the third defender and passed the ball to Chris ‘Tea Bag’ Teasdale who managed to score in the corner. Unfortunately, DJ missed the conversion. Despite the missed conversion DJ who was back at fly half from his more recent position of prop, was producing some memorable kicks. Non-more so from a 22 drop out, he managed to get the ball deep in to the Colne 22, where the ball trickled over the line for a line out to the away side.
It was from this kick that sparked the pressure that led to the second try of the match. The home side were pressuring the Colne side, DJ again produced a chip which when he was running through was taken out by a Colne player. With the ball landing in the 5 metre the home side opted for a scrum at the penalty. With Hoppers dominating the scrum the Colne pack was driven back towards their own line. With the ball at the feet of the silver haired youngster at 8 Cally, the even younger Gaskill passed the ball to DJ, he ran to the blindside with ball in both hands drew two defenders and passed to Rick ‘I scored one more try than my missus’ Barnes who scored in the corner. DJ this time produced a superlative conversion from out wide to score the extras. The half ended with the Colne side pressuring the home side and their efforts were awarded with a penalty to end the half with the score at half time 12-6.
During the half time period, Colne’s inexperienced prop was struggling against Wily old Willy. With the scrums threatening to go to uncontested. Callum ‘Turn Coat’ Burnes put his hand up after much coaxing to put a Colne shirt so that he too could get an education from Willy. The second half got under way, and the match was going in a similar pattern. It was inevitable that another card was going to be given out and this time it was to the home side. Both sides were utilising the quick tap penalty to the full use. This tactic was gaining them the extra 10 yards they were looking for. Unfortunately, the referees’ patience had ran out and the next offender Nathan ‘I wish I was Nathan Hughes’ Shaw was sinbinned for this persistent infringement.
This didn’t stop the back chatting and niggle from both sides though. After a quick tap penalty to the home side deep in the 22 of Colne, the visitors were not back far enough for the referees liking. The Colne fullback disagreed with the decision against his side and he booted the ball away and was promptly yellow carded. From the ensuing penalty a quick tap was selected, and prop Corey went straight and low and scored. DJ slotted the conversion.
If anybody thought the Colne side were going to lie down and roll over they were mistaken. From a scrum they went blind and ran down the flank and scored the touchdown in the corner, the conversion was missed. The home side was soon responded with a try of their own. They were deep in the Colne’s 22, trying to mount the pressure when a knock on from the attacking side gave Colne the scrum. Through Hoppers dominance in the scrum they won the ball against the head. From the ensuing pressure Colne were offside. A quick tap was taken by DJ who managed to bounce off a would-be tackler and with another player on his back managed to wriggle through to score. He managed to score the conversion albeit with help from the post.
Now in Dan Carter mode, DJ then made a break from the Hoppers 22.and was churning the ground up like a sprinter competing in the Commonwealth games. A truly wonderous sight. With centre Rick Barnes and former flanker Carl now on the wing offering support, DJ passed the half way line but was tackled trying to offload and the ball went forward.
Colne finished the match with another try. From a scrum the number 8 picked and went blind. He went for a full 40 metres before drawing the final man and offloading to a supporting player. He bounced off the would-be tackler who was new boy Dave who is one of the under 15’s dads and was playing his first match. He attempted in vain to tackle with the try scorer managing to wriggle his way over. This time the conversion was slotted. The match ended with the score 26-18 to the home side.
Man of Match – Carl Martinez, superb play as a flanker, centre and winger.
DoD – Nathan Shaw for the yellow card unfortunately he left early so the same Carl Martinez who got the MoM takes it for clear try avoidance when it was on a plate.