Three wins on the spin wasn’t to be for Bolton Mets this weekend, however, we always knew it was going to be a tough ask against league leaders Littleborough.
The men from Rochdale are fully deserving of their position in the table and in the early stages of the game they went along way to cementing it for another week. Five first half tries, with the addition of three successful conversions, opened up a 26-0 lead over the Mets making it look ominous for the rest of the game.
A rare highlight of the opening half was a break by Centre Paul Leigh down the left hand side of the field, and despite having several players surrounding him he still managed to release the ball with a ‘Fijian Flick’ to Winger Aaron Hunt who dived over in the corner for his first club try in only his second outing.
At the break, Al Scarbrough had to lay down the law to his troops due to the performance so far being less than adequate. Having lost Darren Robinson Jnr to an early injury, Josh Bourne was now partnering Rob Tuppen in the Second Row whilst Jason Nuttall replaced debutant Ed Wiseman at Prop Forward.
We had to raise the intensity in the second half if we were to have any chance of getting back into the game. Centre Gavin Hatton took the bull ball the horns with several strong carries down the right flank, whilst Ryan Terry also made inroads through the middle. Unfortunately, the Littleborough defence held firm and limited our chances to get near the try line.
Once back in possession, the Away side added to their score with another try after several missed tackles allowed them to breeze through our defence.
The score was now 32-4 to Littleborough but for a good 15 minute spell we managed to stem the flow of points with some solid defence lead by Tuppen and Terry. This helped set the platform for our next attack when another tackle bust by Paul Leighshould have seen him go the full length on the field, it was only a last ditch tackle by the Full Back that stopped him crossing the line. Some quick thinking by Hooker Neil Walsh saw him score from the resulting play the ball and make it two tries in two games for the Bolton Mets stalwart.
The hard running forwards of Littleborough continued to cause us problems as the game progressed, this led to two further tries late in the half which secured their second victory at Avenue Street this season.
Despite the score line getting away from us, Josh Bourne made sure we had the last word with a trademark barnstorming run. Receiving the ball 15 metres out, Josh charged forward and dragged three would be tacklers over the line with him and touched it down. It wasn’t a day for the Mets kickers as the third conversion was missed to leave the final score 44-12 to Littleborough.
We’re obviously disappointed with the result after back to back wins but it’s all part of the learning curve for the players and coaching staff. We’ll take both positives & negatives from the game and learn from them going forward, we’ve only just passed the half way point of the season so there are plenty more opportunities to improve.
Ryan Terry and Neil Walsh were runners up in the Oppositions Man of the Match Award, but it was Aaron Hunt who took top spot for his strong tackling and relentless running. Showing real signs of progress each and every game, Rob Tuppen was picked out as Top Tackler for the second time this season.
Next weekend we’re scheduled to play Away at Aspull New Springs, however, with some pitch issues we are currently unsure where the game will take place. Please keep an eye on our website during the week for more details.