Off The Latch
Things don’t seem to be getting any easier for Bolton Mets in NWML Division Five, but despite this we keep on fighting.
With only seven players available on Friday afternoon we feared the worst, however, 24 hours later we were able to field a side of 16 mainly due to several Bolton Mets Old Boys and a couple of volunteers. This obviously isn’t ideal and following on from last week we were still without any out and out ball handlers.
Despite their league position, Latchford Albion A are a very good side and with no first team game scheduled they were also able to field some first teamers in key positions.
It was a steady start by the Mets as we completed our first few sets in attack and held our own in defence, the score board remaining untroubled for the first 10-15 minutes. After that though it soon become one-way traffic as a neat inside ball wrong footed the defence to open the scoring before a dropped ball was pounced upon by the Albion Full Back who sprinted away to score.
Several more tries followed in the first half for the Home side, but more worryingly for Bolton was the number of injuries we were getting. Hooker Ryan Terry had to come off with a persistent ankle injury, Stand Off Sam Heyes had to be replaced after an accidental ‘crusher’ tackle caused issues to his neck, and Prop Neil Kelly had to retire with what later turned out to be a broken thumb and wrist.
The score was 34-0 at half time and was well & truly game over, but as has been mentioned many times the Bolton Mets spirit never wains. Head Coach Al Scarbrough gave his troops a pep talk and several challenges ahead of the second half, the main one being to tighten up in the middle and force Latchford into trying their luck out wide.
With no fit substitutes it was left to the remaining players to see out the game, within the 13 were Gareth Edwards, Colin Crompton and Andrew Bowling, players of Bolton Mets past, and debutants Haydn Broadway and Toby Sly, two last minute volunteers to help us field a team.
The challenges set by the Coach at half time looked to be inspiring the players as Albion could no longer find an easy way through the centre of the Mets defence. They now had to put the ball through the hands to find space and it was on the right Wing where they had a bit of luck, the Winger skilfully diving over in the corner for his first before receiving a nice cut out pass for his second.
As we passed the hour mark Latchford where in again, this one taking them passed the 50 point mark and putting to bed any chance of a Mets comeback. Unfortunately, this is were the game took a turn for the worse, an innocuous challenge on the Latchford Centre Jamie Sampson ended in serious injury and the abandonment of the game. The injury was a broken leg, both tibia and fibula, and required an ambulance to be called. Both teams agreed to finish the game their and let the result stand at the current score of 52-0.
Once back in the clubhouse, the Latchford side picked out Sam Heyes as Man of the Match, with Andrew Bowling and Rick Ackers as runners up. Full Back Jonathan McMillan earned the Top Tackler award after successfully stopping several other certain tries.
Despite the result, our thoughts and wishes go out to Jamie Sampson and hope for a speedy recovery. Rugby League is a tough sport and injury is always a possibility, but the courage shown by anyone pulling on a shirt and crossing that white line is what sees players come back stronger time and time again.