KIRK FLYERS 33-17 EDGE HILL OLD BOYS

Posted by: Monty on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

SATURDAY SUPERHOUSE:

5TH MAY 2012

If we don’t know where we belong
It’ll make no difference from where we started
Look out kid because here it comes
You’re not the lucky ones

Scottish rockers, Biffy Clyro: Saturday Superhouse, 2007.

Saturday superhouse from Clyro’s 3rd studio album, The Puzzle, is an apt tune to start this final match report of the season. Clyro have often confused me with their very diverse sounding tunes, and The Puzzle, certainly did little to end this confusion with what on the surface sounded like a Foo Fighters tribute cd, but scratching the surface gives little insight into the depths below. I dug deeper and found a band of amazing sound and quality which just goes to show that snap judgements will leave you short changed!

las pastillas anticonceptivas hacen crecer los pechos

So, looking at the line ups my snap judgement was an easy win for Kirk, after all the Flyers were a good mix of Kirk 1st and 2nd team with talented extras and the Old Boys were merely the Lions of Kirk fame under a different guise. See, that’s the confusing thing about Ormskirk rugby, an enigma that still eludes a definitive answer, as Kirk, despite starting strongly going through the phases and being camped in the Old Boys 22, failed to convert any of their numerous chances. The danger signs were obvious for all to see with Old Boy 10, Glover putting in the sneaky kicks over the top which only just failed to find a blue shirt much to the Green men’s relief.

But another failed Green men assault saw the blue line of Edge Hill breakout and eventually score in the corner through Ben McCarthy to take a 5-0 lead against the run of play, and shortly after they scored again through Rhys Williams, learning to fly with a spectacular leap over the line under the posts which made it 12-0 to the Old Boys. Its times like these when decisions have to be made, this led to on loan centres Mcevoy and Weir coming on for Baillie and Drysdale, with Lambie switching to 10.

Slowly the control came and Kirk got the monkey wrench out and started to undo the blues. But to their credit, Parlour’s boys defended to a man and kept the Flyers at bay. But Kirk kept the generator going and finally scored in the corner after some mid-field trickery, a slice of luck and Alex Lambie being in the right place at the right time for a crucial score just before half-time. 12-5 to the men in blue at the interval though and much work for Kirk to do.

Changes at half-time saw Fogarty, Baillie and Drysdale come back on with O’Mally, Robinson and Laney-Lane taking a break. Kirk got the wheels rolling in the 2nd half but were made to work by the Blues who refused to give in but it was plain to see they were now tiring and their long road to ruin was started by a great Jake Hodson score under the sticks to level the scores, and when centre Jack Weir back flipped over the line for another score under the posts, 19-12 seemed to signal the end for Edge Hill.

But the Old Boys are not a team of quitters and they rampaged back into the Kirk half through good forward work led by Richmond, and then the pretender struck. Glover is always open to tricks and his little dink over the top looked like a class A1 fail to me, that is until Old Boy, Andy Wilson popped up to beat the Kirk defenders to the touchdown! 19-17 and the game is afoot! Who has the resolve to win this now? I thought.

It was a combination of patient control and a tiring blue defensive line that first let Joe Hodson through for his 24th try of the season, (shocking swallow dive over the line!), and then Mcevoy forward rolled and flipped over to seal the fate of the Blue men. It was harsh on Parlour’s men who deserved more from the match that they contributed so much to, still, what a match to end a satisfying season for Kirk.

There were many great efforts from both teams, notably Sailsbury, Big Gaz, Jacko, Clarke and Compton for the Kirk forwards, with Kirk, Robinson and both Hodson brothers showing well for the backs. For Edge Hill I thought their pack as a whole was slightly stronger all-round which included their man of the match, Si Richmond who put in a gargantuan effort though we will ignore the mankini moment. Playing the last 10 minutes near naked was quite off putting to be fair, Sam Botfield likened it to seeing a hundred pounds of human spam on the pitch, I actually saw what happened to the mankini later on in the night! For their backs I thought Wilson, Glover, Kendrick and Essex all had great games. Big thanks to Weir and Mcevoy for helping us out, hope you enjoyed yourselves.

But star-man for the Flyers was Kirk’s own Scotsman, Alex Lambie who bagged a crucial try for Kirk to set them on the road to victory, and the control he brought got Kirk right on the front foot, a sterling effort mate, well done.

Its youth that exemplifies the Kirk efforts this season with Alex being really old at 21, Kyle Hoy, (17), once again stepped up and bent a few noses which bodes well for his senior career and Harry James, (17), who made a good senior debut, and not forgetting Bradley Drysdale, (17), who like last week caused mayhem wherever he went. Brad is on the Sale books such is his talent but he came through the Kirk junior ranks and remembers well where he came from. I’m sure we will see him play at a much higher level in years to come but the fact he asked to play for us in this match shows his respect for our club.

Players like Brad, Kyle and Harry know where they started and no matter what they achieve in their lives they will remember their senior debuts for Kirk, as will Baillie, Kirk, Fairhurst, Cheung, Williams, Woodhouse and Laney-Lane, all colts who stepped up this season and all Lions. Let’s not forget the Edge Hill effect with Glover, Richmond, Tamblyn, Parlour, Shafi and Dowling who made the Lions team so much easier to run this year and why I believe this has been a satisfying season. Our playing future has been earmarked and today was like watching two 1st teams playing each other such was the quality, in my opinion that is.

So, that’s it, no more writing for me for a few months as we all take a break from rugby, (apart from Wednesdays for touch, a 7s tournament at Tarleton, and over 50s match in July and the summer touch tournament), so enjoy the rest, Google some of the music I’ve used in my reports, and re-charge those rugby brains ready for September, personally it’s a choice between bass playing, cycling and fishing for me. Now, where did I put my amp……..

Green Army!

Taffy.

KIRK VANDALS 26-46 KIRK COLTS

Posted by: Monty on Monday, April 30th, 2012

VIVA LA VIDA, (love of life):

28TH APRIL 2012

“I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets that I used to own”

Coldplay, Viva La Vida, 2009.

Those art aficionados out there will recognise the title of this piece taken from Mexican artist, Frida Kaho’s 1954 painting of the same name. She was a tad unlucky in health matters throughout her life, but still found the courage and strength to portray her ‘love of life’, through her work, Coldplay are a damn fine band with a song of the same name inspired by Frida and magically produced by ex Roxy Music member, Brian Eno.

Art, inspiration and magic, the very things that came together Saturday on a day of triumph for the club both on and off the pitch. The art was the game of rugby union, the inspiration was the test of age versus the coming of age, and the magic was colt like with no mean effort from the grizzle faced veterans of the Kirk lower echelons of skill.

The first blow came from the colts with 3 well taken points from the boot of Bishop after the Vandals infringed at a ruck, but the old men of Kirk soon found their rhythm playing the jumper game all the way up to the youngsters line, but far from being overwhelmed by the size of the Vandals, the Colts knocked their counter-parts back stoutly and cleared their lines excellently. It was a telling passage of play, as from another attempted breakout by Taff’s men from the half-way; a wayward pass was snaffled by human Exocet, Aaron Cheung, and there was more chance of stopping the tides than this chap!
The subsequent conversion made it 10-0 to the kids; the writing was growing more pronounced on the wall!

But experience when pooled is a weapon of use, the Vandals regrouped and went on the forward rampage with good carrying by the forwards, notably Fogarty, Farley and Compton, and this paid dividends as the one and only Shafi James crashed over for a great try to bring it back to 10-7, game on we thought.

In a game of four quarters, numbers are great, but training and team-work are crucial factors, and to their credit, the Colts grew in confidence as the game progressed, realising they were not being slaughtered by their older counter-parts. These lads have been together since probably 8 years old, and any Vandal attacks were met with swarms of Colts putting in the big hits, getting up far quicker than the Ralgex crew, and pouncing on mistakes and turning them into points. Josh Williams scoring one from close range, taking out Taff and Shafi in the process was one such effort! (I actually stopped counting the scores at this point, as I was fighting for survival out there. I am a Lion, and my jungle was being destroyed!).

There was great endeavour from the Vandals to be fair but any mistakes were soon compounded into length of the field turnovers by recent senior successes, Baille, Cheung, (have you tried catching the wind?). But the old men of Kirk know how to last 80 minutes, and as the last 20 minutes came into being, the expected Vandal purple patch came into full tilt. Great forward play mingled with excellent options from the backs, saw 3 tries and two conversions from Richmond, Dowling and Williams, (Robertson getting the extras), just reward for sticking at it and playing in a Lions’ spirit.

Take away the Vandals mistakes that ‘gifted’ the Colts 3 tries, (from their own try line to be fair), it would have been a close affair but in all honesty, the better team by far won. They have a distinctive style of attacking rugby that can be defended against but wasn’t by us and that’s that as they say. It was however, a game I was very proud to have been in. The young men of Kirk matched us physically, (Young Kyle pushing my face into the dirt, though technically illegal, brought a smile of joy to my muddied face, good on you mate, big respect). Recent Lions, Josh, Dan, Adam and Cecil are much nicer to play alongside, especially Adam who knows all my tricks at breakdowns and basically had me bang to rights! The sight of Ray Allan being lifted in the tackle is not good for morale, but it teaches you to go in lower, and the sheer speed these lads get around the pitch is staggering, but be warned Colts, Taffy has a mantra, and it goes like this: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!, I’m looking forward to the re-match next year.

I must apologise to the Colts for being unable to mention you all by name, but I can assure you I will change that in the coming months, but consequently I give my man of the match award to you all, (apart from those 4 shambolic senior players you had who basically held you back), as it was a wonderful spectacle of rugby where an oldish man learned a lot from the young. Man of the match for the vandals was me old 2nd row mate, Tim Farley, great effort Tim with more great efforts from Beanie, Compton, Richmond and the rest of the Vandal crew, cheers lads.

Moments of the match, Cheungy running, Josh booming me, Beanie and Shafi! Glover’s boom de force of young ‘Colt’ Quirk, the try celebrations, (didn’t get the fish one myself), Baillie leaving a trail of would be tacklers prostrate all pointing him towards the try-line like a row of discarded dominos, the crowd cheering and laughing was much appreciated, (and Phil A for taking note of the Colt efforts, I believe one approach has already been made), good effort people, the great refereeing of Simon Kirk, many thanks mate, and generally the 1st minute to the 80th of the match, a humbling experience.

The Colts presentation evening was much fun afterwards with guest appearances from Elvis Jones, Scouser Povey, Danny Zucko James and Freddie Mercury, Austin Powers, (yeah baby!), a generic Hippy, (like, cool man), and a whole host of 60s and 70s people milling around. Aye, it was a good day for the club, the future beat the past so to speak, and the club came to life, and me and Mrs. Taff sat in the corner watching it unfold. I would like to come up with some profound saying to capture the atmosphere or the sense of excitement for the future that I feel is upon us, but I can’t so I leave you with this.

VIVA LA VIDA

Taffy.

The Big Match Preview: Kirk Vandals v Kirk Colts

Posted by: Monty on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

28th April 2012, 4pm ko.

The Voice:

Stranger emotions in mind
Changing the contours I find
I’ve seen them once before
Someone cries to me

Oh, the look and the sound of
The Voice
They try, they try
Oh, the shape and the power of
The Voice
In strong low tones

Ultravox! 1981.

I was and still am a massive fan of Ultravox, more the John Foxx incarnation than the Midge Ure led dark European-sounding outfit, but at 19 years old in 1981 all avenues were open to my ears, music was my nirvana. This song grabbed me by the unmentionables for its sheer power, its mesmeric pull, and as a bass player myself, that pumping bass line. The voice has always been a powerful tool throughout history; the voice puts that thought in your mind. Some people listen to that voice, some people look to the voice, and the voice is calling Ormskirk Rugby Club.

The voice of experience is going for one last hurrah this season. We’ve been around the block a few times and know how to roll so to speak, as long as there is grass, mud, odd shaped balls and Ralgex, we will continue to strut our glorious stuff in some arena in the name of keeping us young. We are after all, still crazy after all these years to be playing this beloved game. No one can tell us what to do, for we know it already.

Wait, what is this I hear? A new distant voice approaching fast, it reminds me of something, someone, some time before. It is our youth returning out of time to take us on, to challenge us, to ask us politely to move over and let their voice be heard! To show us what we have lost? Or to show what we have built? To let us look in the mirror past of what we were, a glorious chance to re live our own memories.

The experience versus the maverick force of youth. There is no other better way to end the season for me, this will be a humdinger. Can the youth run circles around their elders? Will experience stop the youth getting the ball? How long will Dave Jones last in the scrum? How long will we remember this momentous day?

The joining forces of the two parts of the club, on the field and in the bar to celebrate the future of Kirk Rugby, whether Vandal or Colt, together we make a massive step on the hallowed turf of Green Lane this coming Saturday.

Listen to the sound of the Voice, it is calling you!

Green Army!

LIONS (4ths) 26-12 NEW BRIGHTON 3

Posted by: Pat on Monday, April 23rd, 2012

MASS EFFECT:

21ST APRIL 2012.

“The lower you fall, the higher you’ll fly”

Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club.

Mass effect has three definitions: it is a name of a very popular Play station game and is a common topic in the Lions’ dressing room: it relates to a neurological disorder: it is the rate of cooling of a piece of steel which determines the properties resulting from the hardening and quenching process. It also means, get the Lions happy, get into their collective minds and find the positive switch, then after a short period of manipulation, watch the newly hardened 4th team massive put on arguably their best performance of the season, this is mass effect Lions’ style, this is their final tale of the season.

Chuck Palahniuk’s words above seem appropriate to the Lions, especially after last weeks’ appalling at best performance away at Trundlesville, Formby. A win against an organised, capable and wily New Brighton outfit did not seem likely, but as Alan Rees put the lads through the warm up, the static in the air started to crack through the squad, barely discernible at first, but by the time Simon Richmond had put us through our excellent no nonsense line-out drills and team runs, even those of shiny pate had hairs standing on end. Taff’s hair dryer blast in the changing room, which would have made Ferguson blush, notched up the charged particles even more, and by the time Joe Kendrick led the lads out for his final game for Ormskirk, even the 3oo Spartans were looking worried, THIS IS ORMSKIRK, my god you could taste the anticipation!

From the start, the Lions’ war machine took their counterparts to the cleaners in the scrums, but sloppy control at the back led to the Wirral men taking a cheeky 7-0 lead from a converted try. But the Lions used their set-piece advantage to mass effect to gain a foothold in the opposition half; subsequent phases saw the ball whiz through the hands, and as the Red Sea parted, Shafi James emerged like an angry Moses in a burst of magnificent running that Brighton had no answer to! Glover converts, 7 apiece.

The Lions’ star ascends as rucking becomes easy and passing becomes like a game of beach ball, but clever opponents know how to halt a good flow. Uncontested scrums due to an injury have to be observed. New Brighton start to improve asking all sorts of questions of the Lions. There is a saying, Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me! They didn’t take a peep in my artillery room for sure, as the tactical substitution of Laney-Lane for Richmond, forever swung the game the way of the Lions.
Glover goes for a cheeky one and gets both try and conversion, fool me once, Shafi once again smashes his way to the line, fool me twice….. 19-7, a fair reflection of the game.

The 2nd half was a much tighter affair with the game taking on a midfield appearance with sporadic Lions’ sorties on their opponent’s line, bravely defended by New Brighton to be fair, and a silly error by Kirk in their opponents 22 led to an outrageous break-away try for the visitors despite Shafi’s meteoric chase back! Cue the expected mid-match Taffy rant! The Lions wake up, and the Taff/Dolcey mean-green-mauling-machine comes into mass effect. Like a Persian siege-engine, the Lions bump and grind up the pitch, Taff’s legs pumping, Dolcey smashing and bashing, and Compton stomping. Taff’s calf starts to creak, the captain thus spake, “score a try and I will go off”, the gods looked down and smiled, Zeus was pleased, catch, drive, smash and heave 8 men go a rumbling, Richmond makes good to Taff’s needs, Glover ices the cake, 26-12 as Laney-Lane come back on for Taff. New Brighton threaten to spoil the Lions’ party but Compton stomps, and the third time pays for all with great backing up by winger, Laney-lane, the Lions escape out of their own 22 to herald the final whistle of Mr. Richard Beveridge, a fine performance indeed sir.

Fool me once, shame on you, you wont get a second chance says Taff!

Awesome lads, and after last week eh! Dowling at full-back was a revelation; Grinch, (3 from 4 and a try), and Quirk were a right pain in the backside; Dolce showed the cards, Taff nodded and followed suit; Tam was Tam like, which is basically Tam! Compton stomped all game to great effect: The front-row triumvirate featuring soon-retiring prop, Biscuit, fit again Allan, (now known as save the best for last Allan), and the fiercely smirking singing prop, Broxton, were grim of visage because their toys had been taken away, New Brighton are now nursing a shot to their own foot! Self proclaimed greatest ever rugby player, Big Dog Richmond, yeah man, you were good, and that tackle! Robinson, so close mate, great all-round game though, Rees, Chesworth, the oldest wingers in town none past you, effort extraordinaire. Laney-Lane, with every match I see a rugby player developing, great effort, great attitude. Lions one and all.

And there were two star men. Joe Kendrick’s sublime performances at 9 was for me the best I have witnessed from him in all my matches with Kirk, it was as if Adam Kirk had returned and we all know how good he is. Joe’s control at the scrums and superb box kick selection was straight off the Taffy wish list. A great way to end your Ormskirk career mate, one for the scrap book.

And Shafi James once again shone super-nova like in a devastating performance that basically won the game for us. Maybe I could sum up your performance by standing, mouth agape in incredulous admiration, but Mrs.Taff summed up your performance in on word, wow!

The end of season party that followed certainly cannot be put into words bar one, awesome, that’s the way we Lions roll, though I will say, don’t drink with Compton!

8 months ago we were strangers, now we are brothers for life, I finish with the wonderful lyrics of Britpop aces, Pulp and their superb slightly altered chorus lyric to their tune, Do you remember the first time:

“Do you remember the first time?
Do you remember the worse time?
But you know we’ve changed so much since then
Oh yeah
We’ve grown”

Stay Beautiful,

Taffy

FORMBY VIKINGS 80-0 ORMSKIRK LIONS (4ths)

Posted by: Monty on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

SATURDAY APRIL 14TH 2012

Part of the Union:

Oh, you don’t get me, I’m part of the union
You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
Until the day I die
Until the day I die

Folk Rock/Glam Rock band, The Strawbs, 1973

Game plans, strategy and heartfelt belief are all you need to succeed, to fail all you need are, availability problems, alcoholic fuelled Fridays and stomach bugs. These three facets did not help the social animal that is the Lion, but we got a team out, and a good team on paper but paper is paper and deeds need doing, and alcohol is for after the match, looking over the parapet of the bridge you will see water running under it, then its gone, to be replaced by more water, and so we go on to the next battle, only to look back later, and only then to smile, shake our heads and say, “ aye, we got that one wrong”. And so on to the match.

From the first Formby sortie that left Taff dazed on his back after bravely standing in the way of a Viking juggernaut, the writing was on the wall. “At least you got in his way” said Biscuit. “Wish I hadn’t” said my brain. It wasn’t that we were that bad, it’s just we didn’t click. There was some great endeavour from the backs, and some great scrumaging from the forwards. Unfortunately never the twain shall meet shall we say! Formby exploited the gaps; we failed to plug them, show stopper really.

Grinch probed, Robertson bashed, Dowling evaded, nothing doing. Kendrick thrashed, Robinson jinked, no joy. Tam tackled, Compton stomped, dead ends. Lane huffed, Taff puffed, met brick walls. This is the word, and the word doesn’t lie. Formby were up for it, we were not and that my fellow Kirkians is basically it. Though a massive plus point was the Lions’ best player on the day, Peter Robinson who really has developed into a tidy rugby player. He nearly scored after the best Kirk passage of play which saw him denied in the corner by some excellent cover tackling by the Vikings, and his neat little sidestep to get the Lions out of trouble in their own half when the full-back was absent on far too many occasions. Peter has become a true Lion and has Ormskirk running through his veins. We will do well to tap into this spirit; I’m definitely drinking his homebrew! Sad thing is Peter was not our man of the match, which comes later.
Another bonus was once again Reece Laney-Lane who stepped up to fill the large space vacated by Tim Farley who was called up to the 3rd team. I didn’t miss Tim in the scrums, and that’s some accolade for young Reece. Plenty still to work on with technique and fitness but that’s another Lions’ ethos: adapt; improve; move up.

Taff’s kicking game has come on in leaps and bounds as well. 20 metres out with the ball and a Formby monster charging at him with no support, the thought process is thus: Option 1; run hard and fast into said opposition and lose the ball as the support is 20 metres back; Option 2; Drop the ball, scream mother and run like hell in the opposite direct; Option 3; Become a Welsh 70s legend like Gareth Edwards, attempt a chip over the top, chase and score; I chose the latter, “sweet as” over the top of the startled Formby player who saved himself much embarrassment by getting a finger tip to the ball to thwart Taff’s attempt at glory! We won’t mention he was offside, we were awarded a penalty and one who shall not be named got the tap penalty attempt very wrong, and no, he wasn’t Welsh!!!!!!!

Anyway, we lost, Formby won and we have no one to blame but ourselves. The telling factor in our under performance was Lions’ star-man, Phil Tattersall. Who I hear you ask? Exactly, just before the start this young lad who I vaguely recognized came up to me and asked for a game. 14 men became 15 and I tell you this, without him we would have lost by even more. The guy was a real killing machine charging to and fro shouting and tackling and generally playing like a Lion should. I herby thank a local club who didn’t have a game for lending us such a spirited, talented lad, he is a credit to you for sure and I can’t praise his efforts high enough. Thanks Phil, man of the match for us, Lions; I hope you noticed and took some inspiration from him.

We end on the positives, the above song lyrics might have got you thinking that
This was me rebuffing an offer from our rugby league brethren, (I told them 3 Mars Bars or no deal, too demanding apparently…..). Thankfully, no, this is about a union, rugby union, and the beautiful spectacle of the scrummage and the facets it throws up: namely the front-row union and their oft-denuded brethren, the boiler room boys. This was the last stand of the Titan Trio; Ray Allan at loose, Biscuit hooking and Nick Roper at tight, names carved in stone in the Ormskirk front-row union book. Being a boiler man you get to see/hear/feel the dark arts of front-rowdom. Today I saw/heard/felt these arts from my favourite 3 pain inducers and smiled. The scrum was our best weapon today and it was vintage, it didn’t win us the match but it was like a 1973 Chablis, expectation doesn’t always come to fruition, but this was the last time these 3 will play together with Biscuit retiring at the season’s end, ( unless Nick gets next Saturday off). I was there as they say, I will long remember Biscuit’s mid match rollicking of both Nick, Ray and the cowering forms of myself and Reece all because we lost one scrum! I can assure you the next scrum had a much different outcome which saw my legs dangling in the air such was the force we put in, it was quite spectacular, And to Ray, Nick and Brian, I say this, they wont get you, your part of the union, love it.

To all Lions; Uprising; The Lions home coming is next Saturday at Green Lane, a wounded Lion is a dangerous beast, an angry Taff and a wounded Lion means hell hath no fury, you have been warned.

Green Army!

Taffy

Hoylake 2 77-0 Kirk Barbarians (3rds)

Posted by: Monty on Monday, April 2nd, 2012

The Future of the Left:

If there’s no new wave then there’s no fun.

March 31st 2012

“Try and find a better way, there is no other better way”

Welsh New Wave/Punk/Existentialist Rock band, McLusky.

A bit of an eclectic one for you this week, it’s time to think outside of the box, a little bit more leftfield as they say. McLusky certainly thought this way with their mad, even lunatic beats and thrashes that left the music scene scratching it’s collective head at times, whilst a small number of Welsh lunatics,( namely Philip Ensor and his sidekick Richie Gibbon…!), nodded wisely and went with the very voracious flow on a journey to music heaven. We came out the other side much the wiser for buying into something that many would never dare to attempt. (It’s fair to say that Mrs.Taff is not a fan)!

So, rugby I hear you say, well, no, things didn’t go according to plan as the score may suggest. But sometimes you are forced into trying unlikely methods to achieve an aim, and sometimes these things take time, but you always reap what you sow, and this match for some of the lads, will be the day they started to grow. Looking at the starting line-up, there was a quiet confidence at getting a result. Yes, it was a scratch team, but there was plenty of experience to bolster the team with the likes of Green, McDermott, Parlour and Stevenson in the pack, and Brennan, Keech and captain Waterhouse filling the back line, what could go wrong?

Well, conceding an early try due to some slack tackling didn’t help, and by the end of the 1st quarter, being 17-0 down certainly had the Barbarians on the back-foot. They persevered and threatened but the problem was obvious, no real teamwork going on against Hoylake who were a real unit from 1 to 15. The scratch was causing the itch! Too many times Kirk’s good work was undone by a lack of cohesiveness at the rucks and scrums, which saw scrum-half Brennan tidying up when that should have been the forwards’ work, or too many carries by lonesome warriors that gave Hoylake far too many easy gifts to mount their numerous attacks. But you have to keep on trying in the face of such odds, and to their credit Matt’s lads kept it going and did mount a series of attacks on the Hoylake line in the second half, but were denied by the referee and silly little errors that thwarted their efforts.

But if there’s no new wave, there’s no fun, and there were some excellent performances by the Barbarians in the face of adversity. A scratch team for sure, but still the green shoots of a new team emerging. Adam Taylor at full-back showed guile, cunning and bravery in his many carries at the Lake men, even staying on way beyond the call of duty with a dead leg, and then desperately trying to get back on, pacing the line like a caged cat! Chris Parlour as ever professional, stuck to his task at hooker constantly probing, (his appearance for the 3rds made that a game for every team this season, good effort). Did I mention he drives from Blackpool every week to play for Kirk? The unlikely trio of Justin Lyon at 8, Russ Brennan at 9 and young Rhys Ward at 10 was very interesting to watch. Justin saved the bacon many a time at the base of the scrum, and Brennan’s service to Ward was impeccable which allowed the fly-half to constantly probe and worry Hoylake, only good defence stop his efforts. Winger Adam Bennett like Ward never gave up with his constant harrying of Hoylake ball carriers, and there was the usual composed pain in the backside performances from 2nd row Brian Green and his young protégé Josh Williams. This combination excites me, the old and the new, the experienced and the raw. When Josh in future years frequents the higher echelons of Kirk rugby, we will have Mr. Green to thank for his guidance.

For me, three lads need special mentions. Ali ‘One Eye, One Knee’ Morrison had a tidy game for my money, he had to go off due to his dodgy knee, got angry and came back on and put in some big hits, went back off to the same dodgy knee, then bravely came back on to give Adam Taylor some relief. Big effort Ali, big heart, big respect from me. Lions’ favourite, Peter Robinson is very new to rugby and has been badgering me for more action other than playing on the wing, well he is a flanker now, especially after his accomplished first performance in that position. The number of times he popped up with the ball in his hands was numerous; his resemblance to the sweet shop kid with the prize Easter egg was uncanny, (see Russ Brennan and the Sefton game report for more details). Endorsed by Greeny himself, good effort Peter.

But the star man goes to Kirk Lion new kid on the block Danny Smith. He played 40 minutes for the Lions last week, started on the wing for the Barbarians this week and showed all Kirk men the size of his heart with his rearguard tackling efforts on the wing, and then showed us he is a very decent full-back when he swapped with Adam, all this and he hasn’t played for a while. A fortuitous text from Sam Bewick last wk and a Lions’ ethos has brought this lad back into rugby. Never doubt the power of optimism from yours truly; this lad is one to watch. Danny Smith, Kirk man of the match, well done mate.

It’s never easy changing one team to help another, but painful steps have to be taken sometimes and fortunately the steps worked, in my opinion that is. It has left the 3rd team inconsistent but to be honest, there were many lads conspicuous by there absence, especially these last two wks. Those who stepped up to help the cause are warriors one and all, and even though this was not a victory, from these seeds will grow a better stronger 3rd/4th team squad, I am confident of this. There was a lot of spirit out there today; together we will mould it into victory. As McLusky split and went on to form the wonderful Future of The Left, so too will we go on to better things because of days like these. I finish with the chorus from the excellent No New Wave, No Fun by McLusky:

“Try and find a better way, there is no other better way, THERE IS NO OTHER BETTER WAY”!

Green Army!

Taffy.

Ashton-on-Mersey 1st XV 50 - 0 Ormskirk 1st XV

Posted by: Monty on Monday, April 2nd, 2012

‘I give the fight up ; let there be an end, a privacy, an obscure nook for me. I want to be forgotten’

Robert Browning.

Ormskirk travelled to mid table Ashton-on-Mersey with only pride for Gaz Prytherch’s men to play for having been relegated from South – Lancashire Cheshire Division 1, after last weeks loss to New Brighton.

Ormskirk, yet again suffered with the problem of poor availability and as such started with a completly different set of forwards which had started the previous fixture. Rocked with the mid-week news that Aussie prop Hirsimaki had to fly home due to a family beravement, one notable inclusion was the return of Andrew Dean in the Second Row, after a long-term back injury. With Phil Davis out with a season ending broken arm, Dean bolstered the forward pack and with that, the mantle of being the longest serving member of the extended 1st XV squad, with Captain Prytherch being the second most experienced player. ‘Kirk though even with missing key personnel, hoped to compete against a strong Ashton side who had already been victorious against the ‘Blue & Green’ in November.

Ormskirk, as so often during this torrid season, started slowly, and it was only a stroke of luck that they didn’t go behind in the 2nd minute as Ashton’s vocal Prop stupidly over run the dead ball line and touched down outside of the in goal area (reminisicent of 1st XV squad member Wroe who completed the same feat at Vickers in the latter years of the 90’s, earning him the name ‘Gump’ for everymore).

‘Kirk tried to compete but poor defensive work and soft tackling, allowed the Ashton No. 7 to touch down after a sweeping move by the Ashton back line, 5-0 after 6 mins. ‘Kirk were soon dealt another blow, as Midfield General Johnson twisted his left knee bringing his game to an end, the young King coming onto replace him. Ashton again attacked, and after again more missed tackles, the vocal Prop who had overrun the try line earlier, made amends and crashed over after a period of opposition dominance, with the conversion taken, 14-0 at 18 minutes.

Stern words by Prytherch seemed to have some effect and with Hooker Salisbury finding his men in the line outs and Gately providing the cornerstone at Scrum time, ‘Kirk tried to take it to Ashton. No.8 Ben Davis and winger Hodson worked tirelessly in the loose and were rewarded with a key turnover to stem the Ashton flow. ‘Kirk’s forwards however were failing to make in-roads into the Ashton half, and with ‘Kirk pinned in there own ‘22, No. 10 Illingworth was tackled off the ball late as he cleared a kick deep from his own ‘22 at 26 mins.

With Illingworth winded, the back line seemed disjointed, and it wasn’t long until Ashton scored again, this time again through a Driving Maul, with the Conversion missed, 19 nil at 29 mins. Again ‘kirk were found wanting in the loose, and through some weak refereeing, Ashton slowed down what ever ball ‘Kirk had, resulting in Captain Prytherch taking out his frustration on Ashton No.8’s back at the bottom of a ruck, as yet again Ashton infringed. This dynamic rucking displayed by ‘Kirk, however soon came back to haunt them as Kirk’s No. 6 Calum Coogan received a nasty wound to his right ear, resulting in ‘Van Gogh’ having to leave the field.

With the injury to Coogan, the services of two time player of the year No. 16 Roberts were called for. The abrasive flank forward, still nursing a damaged right shoulder, entered the fray and was arguably the pick of the forwards, Roberts demonstrating throughout the reminder of the game, the art of successful tackling ; low and hard.

With the clock winding down, Ashton managed to engineer another try, and with the conversion taken, 26 – 0 at half term.

With choice words at half-time, vast improvements were called for as ‘Kirk entered the second 40, however ‘Kirk just didn’t seem to get going and again the second half resulted in a further 25 points being added by Ashton, without reply from the ‘Blue & Green’. As the final whistle went, ‘Kirk left the field dejected with many players wanting to draw a line under this season and start building for the 2012-2013 season.

With key personnel returning next week most notably, No. 4 Hitchlock in the boiler house to stoke the coals at scrum time, there is hope that for the remaining two games of the season that Ormskirk can put in solid performances against Winnington Park in two weeks time, and Orrell on the final day of the season.

Positives from this encounter must be the set piece which stood up well, particular solid was débutante Prop O’Malley who accredited himself well and Flank Forward, the mercurial Roberts who was one of the few players who was robust in defence. However with key areas such as defence and penetrative ability somewhat lacking, hard work is needed.

Green Army!

Phil Davis

The 1st XV Squad:

1. O’Malley 2. Salisbury. 3 Gately 4.Dean ‘The Tank’ 5 Bennett 6. Coogan ‘Van Gogh’ (16.Roberts ‘Two time Player of the Year’) 7.Shopland-Read 8. Davis, B. ‘Head the size of a Planet’ 9.Prytherch (El Captaino) 10. Illingworth 11. Hodson ‘Working at the car wash, Come on sing it with me…’12. Croft ‘The Baby Bell’ 13. Johnson ‘The Body’ (17. King) 14. McCarthy 15. Healey ‘Rooney’

1st XV relegated after latest loss.

Posted by: Dudley on Monday, March 26th, 2012

Ormskirk 1st XV 12 - 38 New Brighton 1st XV

With no less than 12 forwards injured or unavailable for this fixture, and only being able to have 1 substitute, it always looked like it was going to be an uphill struggle for bottom of the league Ormskirk but to their credit they made 2nd placed New Brighton work very hard for their victory. New Brighton utilised their big forwards and direct-running centres to good effect throughout the first half and with the wind at their backs they pinned Ormskirk back in their own territory. For the most part, ‘Kirk’s defence stood firm against the relentless attacking of the Wirral side but unfortunately on 4 occassions the pressure paid off as the barged their way over for 3 tries from close range and one out wide. All 4 were converted and New Brighton led 28-0 at the break.

The second half was a very different story, now with the elements in their favour Ormskirk used their kicking game to get in good places on the pitch and also played a much more expansive game with the ball in hand, making for a competitive, entertaining 40 minutes of rugby. It was against the run of play that New Brighton added their 4th try of the afternoon and also added a penalty to extend their lead to 38-0. It was clear to everybody at Green Lane that this wasn’t an accurate reflection of the game that was being played out but this has been the case far too many times this season, hence the Gingerbread Men’s lowly league position. Thankfully, Ormskirk finished the game with a flourish, sparked by John Curley’s thrilling interception try from his own ‘22. Curley showed his opposite number a clean pair of heels before rounding New Brighton’s full-back to score the try of the day upto this point, converted by James Illingworth. Ormskirk continued to attack and almost scored again immediately, a blind-side move from a scrum split open the visitors defence with Andy Healey making good yards but unfortunately his final speculative off-load went to ground. Ormskirk continued to attack and looked dangerous everytime they had the ball, New Brighton are on course for promotion for a reason though and they met ‘Kirk’s attacks with some great defence. There was nothing the visitors defence could do about the final try of the day though, fielding a clearance kick on half-way, ‘Kirk winger Jake Hodson powered between two defenders, left two more flat-footed as he stepped past them and then accelerated past the full-back for the best individual try seen at Green Lane for years.

The game finished with Ormskirk back on the attack but unable to register any more points against a strong New Brighton side that were good value for their victory. This result, along with others in South Lancs 1 mean that Ormskirk are now sure to be relegated back to Level 8 of the national league structure. As upsetting as this is for all those commited players and members of the club, the poor levels of availability this season meant that this drop was inevitable. The standard of rugby Ormskirk are capable of mean that they should compete in South Lancs 1 but they must now rebuild next season and look to return to level 7 as soon as possible.

Ormskirk: 1, Hirsimaki 2, Salisbury 3, Gateley 4, Merrill 5, Clarke 6, Molyneux 7, Thomas 8, Parker 9, Prytherch 10, Illingworth 11,Hodson 12, Croft 13, Johnson 14, Curley 15, Healey. 16, Wroe

LIVERPOOL COLLEGIATE 3 59-5 ORMSKIRK LIONS

Posted by: Monty on Monday, March 26th, 2012

SHOT BY BOTH SIDES.

SAT MARCH 24TH 2012.

“For myself, I always assume that a lion is ferocious, and so I am never caught off my guard”

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes.

Shot by both sides, on the run, to the outside of everything, are the words of art-punk rock band, Magazine, fronted by Mancurian, Howard Devoto. A song from 1978/79 that was playing very loud from my stereo this morning in an effort to release the pent up frustration I felt from yesterday’s game. It’s an angry song, and it worked, because now the mood is more reflective and at least you now know that I was not happy, along with most of the residents of Aigburth yesterday, who must have wondered what an earth was going on around 15-10pm when all that could be heard was a rabid, ranting Welshman, hobbling around behind the posts trying to make some/get some, sense from/into/what was happening to his team. Rant over, deal with it, and move on.

The first blow came after only 3 seconds, when Collegiate, aware of the Lions’ captains’ fearsome reputation, had secretly hired Lee Harvey-Oswald and positioned him atop the grassy knoll to the right of the block of flats. Collegiate kick off, the ball sails towards Taff, the bullet hits his right calf, he’s out of the game! The shortest ever appearance by an Ormskirk player, unless you know different! It was a big early set-back from which the Lions did not recover!

Huffing and puffing is normally the domain of wolves on little pigs houses, but the Lions toiled under the spring sunshine, against a team much keener and slicker, and to be honest, very much up for it where we were not-that is basically the story. I could go on about the actual match but I choose to dwell on the positives and some stats.

The first 10 games of the season we scored 124 points conceded 540, the next 10 235-270, that’s real progress; however since our win against the 3rd team we have lost 4 in a row. Two heavy set-backs, two stirring efforts, still, 4 defeats. Our 3rds on the other hand have won 3 from 4! Did we leave our season on the pitch that day? It seems like it! But I know, WE know we can do better!

It’s a team game, and we need to turn up as a team, lesson learned I hope. However, as always, in adversity there is light, and by losing an experienced 2nd row early people needed to step up and young 18 year old Reece Leney-lane did just that. He was expecting 15 minutes late on, he got the first 40, and by half-time he had played himself to a standstill and for the record, the scrum was rock solid, was I missed?……., great effort Reece! The 2nd half saw Mr. 10 minutes himself, Graeme Ford take over in the boiler room. Result? 10 minutes is now 35 minutes and once again, great effort Graeme. Jesus returned, Gareth Dowling had a so-so 1st half, went back on for Joe at scrum-half and played a blinder and got the Lions’ only score, another great effort, as was Joe Kendrick’s 50-odd-minute game, brave and undaunted, a lion. The return of the Sib, great to have Callum back and the Mighty Atom himself, Nick Grant, still feisty I’m pleased to say. And useful Lions’ debuts from Adam Taylor at 15 and young Danny on the wing, (what’s his last name?).

There is always a Lions’ star man, and thanks to this guy the score was considerably lowered due to his tackling master class that had Tam nodding sagely in his direction and even Shafi James on 2nd team duty felt the spirit of the hit reverberate all the way to Manchester. Tam and Shafi are young guys who like nothing better than to end some aspiring scorer’s glory runs, at 50 something, Alan Rees knows you can teach old dogs new tricks. He has worked hard in training and on match days to be an integral part of the Lions’ brand, he gained his starting place on merit, and I challenge anybody to try and take his place from him, it won’t be easy. Your best display in a Lions’ shirt so far mate, Alan Rees, man of the match, well done chap.

Aye, a feeling of calm and forward planning has returned. A great night out with the lads to give our Australian brother, Haydn Hirsimaki a great send off as he departs these shores back to his homeland was a great tonic, especially the revival of bar-diving at the club. Great effort Haydn, thanks for all your endeavours and keep in touch, Ormskirk loves you man.

Feeder, the 3-piece rock band wrote a song in 1997 called High. The chorus goes:
I’m going out for a while, so I can get high with my friends. Aye, very apt. Now where did I put that big book of rugby tactics………….

(The Lions Soundtrack of the season, 18 reasons to be a Lion, featuring all of the tunes I have used in my reports, will be available for listening at our last home game against New Brighton on 21st April. Bring your own air guitar…)

Green Army!

Taffy.

STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS

Posted by: Monty on Monday, March 12th, 2012

ORMSKIRK LIONS 24-29 EAGLE 2
MARCH 10TH 2012

“Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.”
John of Sailsbury, 1159
Empirically you have to say things have improved substantially since last we met Eagle on the field. The 71-14 reverse last November was a game of two halves and the beginning of the new Lions which stats will confirm. This game was once again a two- half affair and had a lot to do about belief and self realization, it was an enthralling, no-holds-barred game of rugby with banter and no little skill shown by both sides.
Eagle came to play and showed their early intent by releasing their prodigious number 10 on mazy runs backed up by good support play, but the Lions would have none of it as the game stayed centre field. But you have to be on your mark when facing fast danger men, and Eagle, to their credit, capitalized on loose Lions’ tackling that allowed them to add 3 tries and 2 conversions to an early penalty to take a 22-0 lead approaching half-time! It was hard on the Lions but that’s the price you pay for non-diligence. But as ever the Green men stuck at it and got their just rewards just before the interval from a Dan Baillie penalty, and should have got more as they piled on the pressure to end the half dominant over a tiring Eagle effort. A malfunctioning line-out and silly mistakes in the loose put pay to that, (the perfect leech ball by Farley and Taff deserved more than the penalty against the Welshman for perceived holding on!), however……..
The Lions started part 2 confident of a turn-around with the sun and wind at their backs but once again a silly lapse at a scrum allowed Eagle to gain a crucial early try and conversion which was not to the liking of Lions hooker Chris Parlour, who let us know of his disgust ably, backed up by vociferous number 8 Simon Richmond! We had been told- we started to listen.
The Lions started to gain the ascendancy. Suddenly the minds switched on and the text-book moves started to come along with some brilliant back-play by James, Glover and Baillie, with the support of the usual suspects, Taff, Farley, Tamblyn and Richmond, not forgetting the calming influence of ever-professional Parlour and the rasping words of prop Broxton. Baillie jnr crossed for a well taken try after a sustained period of pressure that got the Lions back to 29-10, and this was followed up by a lesson learned from last wk when at a breakdown close to the Eagle line, Taff scooped the ball up to fellow 2nd row Farley whose clever feed to the backs saw Glover cross for another try, (10 this season), converted by Baillie! 29-17 was, I thought, a respectable score as time was running out-things were about to get a whole lot more exciting.
The Lions once more surge into Eagle territory, James is like a whirling dervish, Baillie senior pops a coin into the juke box, selects Cher’s hit, If I could Turn Back Time, and goes on a run extraordinaire, Critchley is held up short, more attacks from the Lions, more silly errors scuttling the attacks, more harsh words from Broxton, Richmond, Parlour, no Lions’ score, Until………
Forget structure, forget game plans, play it off the cuff, smile like you mean it in a Killers’ song, set Shafi up 30 metres out and watch him go into threshing mode! Cue Lions’ euphoria as the try is converted! We came back well, heads held high. Why is Taffy shouting like a demented fool? What? Its only 24-29? 4 minutes plus injury time? We can still win? Yes you can, are you deaf? Cue 4 minutes of Lions’ Bedlam and tight Eagle defence. Last play, off goes Tam on a run to the words of Richmond, ‘run my little Welsh friend run!’, but Eagle stay strong to secure the victory, the Lions bloodied but unbowed step from the arena, the synopsis is as follows:
Its all about belief and quite frankly the Lions didn’t have it in their hearts in the first half, slowly but surely it came, and when it did they were an unstoppable force. 3-22 at half-time to 24-29 full-time says it all. 21-7 to the Lions in the 2nd half and to my mind the best rugby of the day, but a game is 80 mins not 40, remember that Lions, start believing in yourselves as your captain believes in you!
The days’ heroes: Broxton, (played to a standstill), Parlour, Richmond, Quirk, (played to a standstill, literally), Baillie snr, Baillie jnr, (11 points for the Lions, 5 points and an assist for the 2nds), Farley, Glover, Tamblyn, with great cameos from Ford, (10 mins will become 80), Dowling, (best and longest 7 minutes in Kirk history), Rees and Robinson both continue to improve and deserve their starting places, Prince Aggrey always gives his all and doesn’t let the side down, and all the rest of you big cats, good effort.
Star of the show, Shafi James. I’m searching my mind for an extended paragraph to portray your efforts and the value as a player of the team, to your untutored rugby skill and general excitement you bring to Ormskirk’s fields, alas I can only find one word said twice, brilliant, brilliant! I hope this word is a big enough for you big man. Shafi James, man of the match, well done the Brighton basher.
Standing on the shoulders of giants is an accolade I justly bestow on the team. If like me you noticed the sizable crowd watching you yesterday, you should realize just how much our exploits are being regarded at the club. I even noticed a few faces from the back room roaring us on, and getting them out of their sanctum is no mean feat. There are ex-players at the club now looking at their old battered boots thinking there is still one last hurrah left. The fourth team has always been held in high esteem apart from recent years. You have changed that. This season will go down in club history as a red letter one for the 4ths, read the above quote again, take it to your hearts and ready yourself for the next battle we will fight together.
Time for your captain to play Don’t fear the Reaper again, and smile to his hearts content.

Green Army!

Taffy.

MOSSLEY HILL 2 31-10 ORMSKIRK LIONS

Posted by: Monty on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

SATURDAY MARCH 3RD 2012

WERE RUNNING UP THAT HILL

It doesn’t hurt me.
Do you want to know how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn’t hurt me?
Do you want to know the deal that I’m making?
You, its you and me.

Kate Bush, Running up that hill, 1985

Now, the Grand Old Duke of York, got a right ear-bashing for pointlessly taking his men up and down some hill for no apparent reason, and as we strolled towards the pitch in pleasant early spring sunshine, his name instantly sprung to my mind along with that of Pythagoras and his mathematical theories when I saw the gently sloping pitch that reminded me of such places as Aberbeeg or Abertillery or even are you having a Aberlaugh on our behalf, from the valley’s of South Wales!!!! I guess the clue is in our opponents’ name.

Anyway, after subjecting the team to some defensive drills up said hill, (and back down again in a Duke fashion), the game kicked off down-field left of centre, to start off what was to be a rather entertaining and enjoyable tie, and the early exchanges proved that Hill may be league leaders, but Taff’s defensive drills proved to be worth the effort as all their early endeavour came to nought. The Lions also had a crack at the hill but they also were thwarted by some stout Hill defence. Fifteen minutes in, so far so good.

But finally Hill used their home knowledge to good effect by running the Lions up and down then back up that accursed slope to score a try in the top right-hand corner towards the house, (come on, keep up!), to take a 5-0 lead. Cue the Lions’ collapse? Not a chance! The next fifteen mins belonged to the Green men who should have scored more than the solitary Mike Moore try, however, white-line fever and solid home defence kept 14 man Hill, (one in the bin), in the game. Still, 5-5 we’re in a game here. But concentration must be kept, and the Lions failed to do this when after a quick tap-and-go by Hill, the obvious method was to go upwards right towards the house, leaving all Lions bar Taff scrambling up and after the ball-carrier who touched down practically top dead centre to extend the Hill lead to 12-5, (try converted), at the interval.

Insider knowledge is a wonderful thing, and Hill used the hill to great effect in part two, (it’s easier to play downwards left away from the house when you’re tired apparently. I concur!), but despite conceding another try to go 17-5 behind, the Green men had the lions’ share of possession and territory in the 2nd half, but just could not breach that solid defence, or even get up that flaming hill! And scrumaging proved to be difficult especially when Hill started to get the nudge on, (I’m positive those lads have legs of unequal length….), and they took advantage of a tiring Lions team to sneak two more converted scores to stretch away from the Lions 31-5. But Taff’s lads keep going till the end, and after many attempts, phases and downright tenacity, Michael Tamblyn crossed for a deserved score top dead centre to give the Lions just reward for a valiant effort. There was still time for some more Hill attacks, but the combination of Lions’ defence, knackered players and the hill stopped anymore scores and thankfully referee Phil Jones blew the whistle for two relieved teams to take a well earned rest, apart from the Lions’ massive having to abseil down the slope to retrieve their gear!

There were many great performances on the day. As usual backs, Glover, Robertson, Moore, (all the way from Bangor), Rees,(apart from one ambitious kick), Aggrey, Robinson, Ford, James and veteran out-side half/scrum-half Brennan, all played above and beyond the call of duty and I would be doing you all a dis-service by singling any one player out. And the forwards, props Stevenson and Roper both had excellent all-round games which had their opponents squealing! Richmond, Tamblyn and Compton again put in big performances, as did Farley and Dolce, (I sense a kinship here). Special praise goes to Nial O’Hagan for his 30 minute 1st half before injury, his subsequent early 2nd half 15 before going off again, and then his last 5 minutes at centre for the injured Shafi which belies his rugby inexperience, big performances indeed. Referee, Phil Jones was outstanding, and his superb running of the game was a massive contribution to the overall enjoyment. 10/10 Sir. And to Mossley Hill, the Lions to a man turn and face you and rattle their spears against shields in salute to you, warrior to warrior. Massive respect lads and good luck to you in division 4 next season.

Now I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone/something. Ah yes, the man of the match. Normally picked by the captain, but on this occasion picked by the team, apparently he had his finest game in a Lions’ shirt, apparently he led by example. Shouting and bawling like the demented Welshman he is, he apparently galvanised his troops and sped them on higher feats of derring-do, when actually all he did was run around a patch of grass, cajoling Lions, pestering Hill-men and generally enjoying himself as any normal 50 year old chap would do on a Saturday afternoon! However, one knows when one has done his best for one’s team, and I am genuinely touched that the boys saw fit to give me this accolade, and I can only say I will try even harder next week as a consequence of your generosity. Thank-you very much indeed.

Start with a song, finish with a song. Loser, the very much tongue- in-cheek 1993 hit from American Hip-hop/rock crossover singer Beck, sums up the Lions’ spirit of adventure this season. We started as losers maybe, but we now hold our collective heads up and compete with the best, and for some unknown reason, this song puts in my mind the joy and spontaneity that are the Lions:

I’m a driver, I’m a winner; things are gonna change, I can feel it.

Soy un perededor, Not!

Indeed.

1st XV in shock loss to Sale!

Posted by: Monty on Monday, March 5th, 2012

Ormskirk 1st XV 13 - 66 Sale FC 1st XV

Ormskirk welcomed big-spending Sale to Green Lane knowing that it was going to a tough ask to get anywhere near the team who have swept all before them this season and were crowned league champions with 6 games still remaining. After last weeks victory and with nothing to lose, confidence was high as ‘Kirk started the first half with with the wind at their backs. After 10 minutes a good period of pressure from the home side was rewarded when they were awarded a penalty 30 yards out, James Illingworth converted the chance and Ormskirk led 3-0. Predictably Sale came right back at ‘Kirk but were met with strong defence from a side determined to show that they were better than their league position suggested as they constantly snuffed out the Cheshire side’s attacks. After an end-to-end period Sale were the first to score, a try that was converted to give them a 7-3 lead. Rather than aiming to simply keep the score down, Ormskirk decided to attack their visitors, which made for a free-flowing, entertaining game of rugby. The men in green were rewarded for their positive play when great handling by the backs on their 3rd phase of possession gave Australian prop Haydn Hirsimaki the ball in Sale’s ‘22′, Hirsimaki showed power and a great turn of pace to barge his way over for his second try in two games. Illingworth converted and ‘Kirk were back in front 10-7. Sale were next to score, winger Jake Hodson’s commitment in defence and never give up spirit was a highlight of the day for Ormskirk, but on this occassion his last gasp cover tackle was harshly adjudged to be high by the referee and a penalty try was awarded. Ormskirk continued to play their best rugby in months for the remainder of the half, not only defending strongly but also looking dangerous in attack, unfortunately this didn’t result in any more tries but they were awarded another penalty which Illingworth slotted between the uprights with the last kick of the half.

Starting the second half only a point behind Sale, ‘Kirk’s belief was high and with their first possession of the half good handling from Andy Croft and Hirsimaki meant Hodson found himself one on one with his opposite man, leaving him grasping at thin air, he sped down the touch line but he was scragged by the last defender and the attack was thwarted.Unfortunately this was as good as it got for Ormskirk in the 2nd half and the visitors put on a great display of running rugby for the remainder of the match. Ormskirk’s effort in defence never waned but Sale’s superior strength and fitness levels, along with injuries to key Ormskirk forwards Glyn Roberts and Dan Hitchlock, told as they ran in numerous unanswered tries. Sale proved why they have achieved a bonus point in every game they have played this season but Ormskirk can take a lot from this game as they enter the final 5 games of the season. If they can perform like they did in the first half against Sale then surely they will record at least a couple more victories.

Ormskirk: 1, Hirsimaki 2, Salisbury 3, Gateley 4, Hitchlock 5, Merrill 6, Rothwell 7, Roberts 8, B Davis 9, Prytherch 10, Illingworth 11, Hodson 12, Croft 13, Johnson 14, Wroe 15, Healey subs: 16, Lambie 17, Bowling 18, Curley.

ST EDWARDS OB 2 64-7 ORMSKIRK LIONS

Posted by: Monty on Monday, February 27th, 2012

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 25TH 2012

UNITED KIRK OF WHATEVER!

‘A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way’.

Mark Twain

You can learn a lot in a week. A desire to win and a will to play are two different angles to take into a competitive rugby match. Take both and you will succeed. Take neither and you will struggle. Away games have been the Achilles heel for the Lions this season, especially after good home results and this one against promotion certainties, St Edwards Old Boys, proved to be a case in point.

It may have been the thoughts of the afternoons’ forthcoming events at HQ, or it may have been the flat atmosphere during the Lions’ warm up, but ten minutes gone and 20 points down was just desserts for the Green men despite competing well at the breakdowns, line-outs and total domination of a poor Saints scrum. The failures to read the opposition’s slick, well drilled back-line moves was the Lions undoing.

But Taff’s lads have learned to fight-back, and to the Lions credit, they got back into the fixture via strong forward play from Kendrick, Taff, Mitchell and Richmond in the loose, but no real chances came a-begging as the half ended with the Lions camped in the Saints 22!

Half-time: 20-0

The early 2nd half was Lions-dominated apart from one Saints’ sortie which was denied by a foot in touch, commendably flagged by their team manager Joe Hart. But the game changed when a number of nefarious and quite astonishing referee decisions killed off any hopes the Lions had of getting back into the match. Tempers flared, discipline was lost on both sides, and the niggle washed over the game, turning it into an unpleasant battle of beef v beef, which led to the great big punch-up which included the unacceptable participation of the Saints’ crowd! Hang your heads, and thank your lucky stars there will be no official complaint made!

Anyway, the Lions finally got their just rewards when after another close-range forward effort, Simon Richmond crashed over in the corner after great work by lock, Tim Farley, and this was superbly converted by young Dan Baillie. The final score was 64-7 allegedly but I’m not altogether sure the referee got that right! And at least 25 points of that were from extremely poor officialdom! Whatever!!! Eddys’ were well deserved victors which will see them grace the fourth division next season. But sort your scrum out lads!!!

Not all is doom and gloom though for many reasons. Richmond and Farley had great games to be honest, both outstanding, and some old Welsh git got stuck in, (even if I say so myself), the scrum machine was at its best which is always a bonus. Mark Baillie got to play with son Dan, which is nice, and maybe a few more games yet? Peter Robinson made his first start and did well, the Mighty Atom/Flying Stick, Nick Grant had a good half at full-back before injury struck, and I think the lads enjoyed themselves which is no small thing. Thanks also to guest scrum-half Baz Whalley making his Lions debut. I know we lost but playing alongside Baz’s calibre of player is a bonus for any team.

Lions’ man of the match goes to Joe Kendrick. The Lions’ own Mr versatile got us going after our poor start, and he never shut-up until injury forced him off after 60 mins. I made him vice captain for a reason, and it ranks within the top 1 of my best decisions this season. The Lions has grafters, skilled artisans, and downright killing machines in its squad, it also has a Joe Kendrick, and that’s very important. Well played Joe, well deserved.

No fancy words to end today, just the one poignant utterance, which I know my Lions will understand very much. To St Edwards we say Whatever!!!

Green Army!

Taffy.

1st XV WIN!!!

Posted by: Monty on Monday, February 27th, 2012

Ormskirk 1st XV 18 - 17 Liverpool Collegiate 1st XV

Ormskirk won their first game since November after a typically hard fought battle with mid-table Liverpool Collegiate at Green Lane. After conceding an early try through a missed tackle early on, Ormskirk fought back immediately and after good recycling from the forwards, some great handling skills from centre Andy Croft put winger Andy Wroe away to score in the corner. The rest of the first half went Collegiate’s way, firstly Ormskirk lost their self-proclaimed ‘Enforcer’ Phil Davis to a broken arm and then they gave away a series of penalties that allowed Collegiate both posession and territory. Three of these penalties where with in range of the visitor’s fly-half and he converted them all to give Collegiate a 14-5 lead at half-time.

The second half was dominated by Ormskirk’s forwards who made good ground time after time with strong running and some strong rolling mauls that Collegiate found hard to stop. The front row of Haydn Hirsimaki, Danny Salisbury and Val Gateley were superb in the scrums, giving ‘Kirk a platform to launch their attacks. Man of the match Hirsimaki capped a fine performance with a deserved first try for the club since his arrival from Australia. Veteran back-rower Glyn Roberts also scored in a period of Ormskirk dominance. James Illingworth added a penalty to give Ormskirk a 18-14 advantage with 15 minutes remaining and after this point the only time Collegiate got into Ormskirk territory the best they could come away with was a penalty of their own.

This was by no means a great performance from the men in green and they will be disappointed not to have added a fourth try that would have got them a bonus point, but the win was the most important thing ahead of a tough couple of weeks when they entertain runaway league leaders Sale FC before travelling to high-flying Tyldesley.

Ormskirk: 1, Hirsimaki 2, Salisbury 3, Gateley 4, Hitchlock 5, P Davis 6, Roberts 7, Rothwell 8, B Davis 9, Prytherch (c) 10, Illingworth 11, Hodson 12, Croft 13, Johnson 14, Wroe 15, A Lambie subs: 16, Bowling 17, Bennett 18, Wilson

4th XV claim the bragging rights…

Posted by: Monty on Monday, February 20th, 2012

ORMSKIRK LIONS 23-22 ORMSKIRK BARBARIANS

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 18TH 2012

CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR

“Likewise be all manner of beasts, when they be brought into the field and cry havoc, then every man to take his part.”

Thomas De Brotherton, Duke of Norfolk, 1300-1338

Barbarian’s scrum-half, David Price, commented on Facebook that this was the most intense game he had played in for a number of years. I’m inclined to agree. The culmination of the week-long propaganda campaigns by both captains would not disappoint. By 2-15, a sizable crowd pitch-side at Green Lane waited with high expectation as Waterhouse and Taff brought their respective teams into the arena. Referee Malcolm Holland from Wigan stood poised, whistle at the ready, there was no turning back now. The battle was afoot!

The Lions started the brighter, showing their intent early with some neat ¾ moves backed up by some good forward support, but the Barbarians were not prepared to give ground and the play stayed centre field. But inch by meticulous inch, the Lions clawed their way into the opposition half. Lions’ number 8, Big Dave Compton spotted a gap, stomped through giving a peach of a pass to scrum-half Ean Quirk, who galloped over from 15 metres out for his 3rd try of the season. 5-0 and the Lions were roaring.

But cockiness is the first mistake on the road to failure, and after a failed Lions move in their own 22, Barbarians back-row, Staniforth, smashed his way through for a quick riposte to even things up at 5-5. This heralded a period of Barbarians domination that taught the Lions a few good lessons. The scrum started creaking, the green men got on top of the rucks and mauls, and the Lions’ attention span shrank allowing firstly Waterhouse and then Dave Jonsson to score from close range! No conversions thankfully but still the Lions were 15-5 down which was not in the script.

Listen, do you want to know a secret? These words heralded the game changer, a text sent to me by the Lions’ very own musical prop, James Broxton, on Thursday morning stating his availability for the match. Bench warmers don’t get better than this, and although tight-head Nick Roper had done nothing wrong, it’s all about combinations sometimes, which proved to be the case. Ray Allan moved to tight, Brox went loose, and the Lions’ scrum machine kicked back into life like a diesel engine on a frosty morning.

Boom! Went the Lions battle bus. Taff and Mitchell worked the gears, and the men in blue rumbled up the pitch and were awarded a penalty. Kick for goal was the cry. Robertson slots, the Lions comeback is on. 15-8. And from the restart the Dogs of War charged again, driving the Barbarian horde back, gaining great territorial position which from the resultant scrum saw Big Dave pick and go at 8 with no one to stop him! 15-13. All hail the war machine. And then on the brink of half-time, another Lions’ attack saw centre Adam Glover slip several would-be tacklers to score out wide! The St Helens massive goes wild, 18-15 to the Lions at the interval, what a come-back.

Game changer number 2 came at half-time. Several Lions changes saw Mitchell switch to the blind-side for Kendrick, Returnee Martin Dolce came into the boiler-room, Nick Grant made way for Robertson to go to wing, winger Mani Aggrey after a great 1st half made way for Ian Critchley and Simmering Jim McKeown came on at inside centre. Game changer? Well it wasn’t evident at first as the 2nd half was a much different affair from the first. The Lions attacked, the Barbarians defended stoutly. Nothing seemed forthcoming until an innocuous penalty quickly taken by Waterhouse 5 metres from his own line, caught the Lions cat-napping! 75 metres later and a slick pass to his winger Dan Thomas saw the Barbarians take the lead back against the run of play. Ward’s conversion, (the only one of the day), compounded the Lions’ misery and Taff’s incandescent anger! 22-18 Barbarians.

This wasn’t the game-changer by the way, that was Mr Dolce whose experience levelled the Lions’ heads. His constant awareness of where the ball was/or would be, kept the Lions on the front-foot, and as the minutes ticked down the men in blue continued to probe and hassle with Glover, Baillie and Brennan trying to exploit the opportunities. None came. And when a concerted period of Lions’ pressure on the Barbarians’ line yielded nought, you could be forgiven for thinking the match was over.

Whether long range kicker, or suicide rucker, a Lion is a weapon of mass destruction, and if you’re called Baillie or Glover or even Russ Brennan, a Lion is a weapon of mass destruction. Brennan feeds Baillie, Baillie feeds Glover, and a Lion is a weapon of mass destruction! Try Glover!!!!!! 3 minutes left, 23-22 Lions, cue the suicide ruckers. If your names Tamblyn, Dolce or even Taff Gibbon, a Lion is a weapon of mass destruction. Even Richmond or Compton or the Edge Hill youngster, a Lion is a weapon of mass destruction. Taff grabs the ball and flops into touch, Holland blows for time, the crowd go wild, a famous Lions’ victory!

The plaudits go to the Lions as a whole. There are far too many names to mention, but if you played or benched, you were all part of this magnificent victory. I knew I had players to rely on and believe me, if you didn’t get on during this game you were still a part of this momentous day. To all Lions, your captain salutes you. And to Matt and his Barbarians, you were immense. It takes two to tango, and boy didn’t we tango. Be proud of the way you played and take that into your next game. Big thanks to referee Malcolm Holland, excellently refereed sir and great banter to boot, 10/10 from me.

Star-man, well it had to be didn’t it, the Return of the Grinch. Adam played the whole match with a cheeky grin on his face. His talent is huge and probably should be gracing a much higher level, but when you see a player enjoying himself this much you have to let time and history take it’s course and for the record, Adam Glover, Lions’ man of the match, well done Adam, once a Lion, always a Lion, come what may.

And finally, as I flopped into touch and looked up, the sight of my team celebrating was heart warming to say the least. The old man had finally caught his marlin, and would soon be going home to dream of lions.

Green Army!

Taffy.

1sts lose out at Wigan

Posted by: Monty on Monday, February 20th, 2012

Wigan 1st XV 36 - 17 Ormskirk 1st XV

Ormskirk travelled to local rivals Wigan looking to complete a double over a side that find themselves in the top half of the league table. As has been the case all to often this season, ‘Kirk found themselves without a host of players due to unavailability. This however allowed them to give 1st XV debuts to Alan Frost and Steven Lambie who have both been impressing for the 2nd XV in recent weeks, both debutants came on as 2nd half substitutes and performed solidly in their first taste of life in South Lancs division 1.

Ormskirk started the game slowly and were punished for this after 6 minutes when strong running and good offloading from the Wigan forwards allowed their scrum-half to score beside the posts, the try was converted, 7-0 to the home side. ‘Kirk responded almost immediately and after Gaz Prytherch’s pass found Andy Wilson in space, he offloaded to Andy Wroe who rounded his opposite number before being tackled by the Wigan full-back. The ball was recylced quickly and after a long pass from fly-half James Illingworth found hooker Danny Salisbury he fed Jake Hodson 25 yards out, Hodson beat his opposite winger and Wigan’s last line of defence as he sprinted down the touchline to score a great try out wide. Illingworth added the conversion, 7-7. Wigan responded well and, led by their strong running number 8 and inside centre, smashed away at Ormskirk’s defence. After a period of pressure ‘Kirk’s defence gave way and Wigan scored their second converted try, 14-7. In an end to end first period Ormskirk fired back at the home side and were next to score, strong running from 2nd rowers Dan Hitchlock and Phil Davis took them into Wigan territory and number 8 Ben Davis powered down the blindside, brushing off two would-be tacklers to score in the corner with 2 minutes to go in the half. Disappointingly ‘Kirk switched off and instead of seeing out the half a series of mistakes allowed Wigan to score their third converted try and take a 21-12 lead in to the break.

Ormskirk’s poor play continued into the start of the 2nd half and within the first 10 minutes they conceded a fourth try and also gave away penalty inside their 22 which was converted to take the score to 29-12. Ormskirk got their act together as the half progressed and again the two teams became very evenly matched for the rest of the game. Chances came Ormskirk’s way, most notably a 30 yard dash from Haydn Hirsimaki and a run down the touchline from debutant Ste Lambie, but were not converted as the final passes didn’t go to hand under pressure. With 5 minutes remaining Ormskirk did add a third try, Prytherch’s cleverly weighted bounce-pass found Illingworth who scooted around Ben Davis’ well timed decoy run that distracted 2 Wigan defenders to score much to the home side’s annoyance! Now back in with a hope of achieving bonus points from the game, ‘Kirk threw everything at Wigan but were ultimately unable to add any further tries and as the clock ticked down it was the home side who scored last under Ormskirk’s posts.

After another commited performance in which ‘Kirk will feel the scoreline flattered their hosts, Ormskirk’s next game is this Saturday at home to Liverpool Collegiate, a side they have already beaten away this season. Kick-off is 14:15 at Green Lane for what will surely be a hugely competitive encounter.

Ormskirk: 1, Gateley 2, Salisbury 3, Hirsimaki 4, P Davis 5, D Hitchlock 6, Williams 7, Rothwell 8, B Davis 9, Prytherch (c) 10, Illingworth 11, Hodson 12, Healey 13, Wilson 14, Wroe 15, A Lambie 16, S Lambie 17, I Merrill 18, A Frost

The Big Match Preview

Posted by: Monty on Monday, February 13th, 2012

The Eve of the War:

Ormskirk Lions v Ormskirk Barbarians

18th February 2012

2-15pm ko

“But who shall dwell in these worlds if they be inhabited? . . .
Are we or they Lords of the World? . . .
And how are all things made for man?”–
Johannes Kelper

No one would have believed in the last days of February that the Lions were being watched keenly and closely by players apparently greater than Taff’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as the Lions busied themselves about their various concerns they were being scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a Barbarian with a microscope might scrutinized the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency the Lions went to and fro around Ormskirk about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their ability over rugby matters. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the Barbarian players of Kirk as sources of Lions danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea they could beat them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most Taff’s men fancied there might be other teams harder to beat, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of Green Lane, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, abilities vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded the Lions with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

To be continued………….

Green Army!

Taffy.

Upcoming International Matches In Lancashire

Posted by: Monty on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Lancashire now have two England International matches being played in the county.

The England Counties v Irish Counties to be held on Friday 16th March at Preston Grasshoppers RFC.

The England U18 Elite versus France U18 to be played at Fylde RFC on Sunday 19th February 2012.

Once again Lancashire has been chosen to host an important England event and it would be great to have a large crowd to support this U18 game and also the England Counties match at PGH.

Inaugural Players Day and 200 Club Draw Results

Posted by: Monty on Monday, February 6th, 2012

For those of you who were at the Club on Saturday, thank you for helping make the afternoon/evening go so swimmingly well - it was great to see young and old faces again at the bar - and long may it continue! Thanks especially to PHILL ARMSTRONG who pulled the whole thing together - see you next week, same time same place?!

In terms of the ‘200 Club’, a draw was held on Saturday - congratulations to CHRIS JONES, ANDY WILSON, JAMES DOBSON, DERYK HIGHET & KIERAN MAHOOD for winning the cash prizes!
For those people not in the 200 Club, you will have received an email detailing how you can become part of it. There is over £1000 to be won 3 or 4 times a year for only £5 per month outlay. We now have over 100 members!

Ormskirk RUFC 200 Club!

Posted by: Monty on Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The senior section of the Club have organised a ‘200 Club’ prize draw for over 20 years. For just £5 a month, members receive a number which is entered into a draw 3 times per year for cash prizes.

The membership of the 200 Club stands at approximately 100 people, and the current prize money each draw is usually about £1,000 (which includes one prize of £800). The remainder of the money is put into an account which is used for the development of rugby and rugby players at Green Lane.

With your support, this development fund would be greatly enhanced, as would the prize money awarded! If you wish to set up a standing order for £5 a month, there is a simple form to fill in and return to the club and then you will be allocated a number (please see attached).

Aletrnatively, forms will be available from the secretary tomorrow at the Players Day!

There is no limit to the amount of numbers you can have, and members will in future receive notification of winners.

If you require further information, or wish to fill in a form, please contact:

Andrew Montrose (Tel: 0781 3300 373)


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