After a 3 week break we were back in action on Saturday as we hosted Leyland Warriors A at Greenhalgh’s Pavilion.
Going into the game with a strong 20 man squad we had a positive outlook for the game ahead. Like us, our opponents had yet to win a game this season but they started the better of the two sides and opened the scoring when a cut out pass allowed the Centre to cross the line.
With Bolton on the attack, a loose pass bounced into the hands of a Leyland player who sprinted three quarter length of the pitch to score under the posts. A third try followed when the Mets defence was caught flat footed and the attacker side stepped his way to the line. With all three conversions successful, the Warriors had an 18-0 lead.
As the half progressed, strong driving forward by Jason Nuttall, Andy Platt and Ryan Terry helped us put pressure on the Leyland defence which ended with Winger Gareth Shaw going close to scoring in the corner. This was followed by Full Back Joe Harte being held up close to the line in the next attack, but the Warriors did just enough to keep us out.
Having failed to score at one end we conceded a fourth try at the other, the Away side Stand Off was allowed too much space and waltzed his way to another score. With yet another successful kick the score now stood at 24-0.
Encouragingly, we have started to recruit some new players over the opening few months of 2017 and with five players making their debuts versus the Warriors it should hopefully help improve the squad in the coming months. Neil Chadwick, Neil Kelly and Darren Robinson were three of the players making their bows, all of which have many years of experience to call upon. The other two players, Tom Crook and Alex Greenhalgh, are recent recruits from Bolton RUFC Junior Colts who showed signs of great potential.
With the half time break over, Head Coach Al Scarbrough reverted to his starting thirteen hoping for a better second 40 minutes.
Things started brightly as Jason Nuttall went on a barnstorming run, first busting a tackle before sprinting half the length of the field until he was brought down by the opposing Full Back. From a quick play the ball we spread the ball from right to left before releasing Winger Dan Johnson down the touchline, unfortunately, the sliding defence did just enough to stop him from touching down in the corner.
After suffering a broken ankle in the Old Boys fixture in February, Prop Forward Gavin Corfield made his return to the side and certainly made his presence felt by bumping off several defenders when taking the ball in. Despite some positives, frustration was starting to take hold and we allowed the Away team an opportunity to score again. The left Winger was set on his way by another cut out pass and he charged away before placing the ball down.
A solo effort by the fleet footed Scrum Half helped increase the lead for Leyland and it seemed as though they were going to get their first two points of the season, whilst leaving the Mets still to register a victory.
Both Crook and Greenhalgh took the ball in strongly when in attack, but also defended well when the opposition had possession. Chadwick also went close on a couple of occasions; however, he wasn’t exactly given the best chance to cross the line as it was either a late pass or one that put him under immediate pressure.
The game had now slipped from our grasps and a final try for the opposition only cemented our woes, this brought the final score to 38-0 when the whistle blew and the disappoint was there for all to see from a Mets point of view.
Keeping up his consistent form, Ryan Terry was awarded the Opposition Man of the Match whilst Joe Harte and Ste Hickey came out as runners up. Loose Forward Josh Bourne was chosen as Top Tackler due to his aggressive style and attitude.
Bolton Mets take on Saddleworth Rangers A next Saturday, the game has a 2.30pm KO at Shaw Hall Bank Road, Greenfield, Oldham, OL3 7LD.
*Picture: John McGibbon Photography