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’

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