The Almost Perfect Storm

Newton 90-2 Bolton Mets

A trip to St Helens was the order of the day on Saturday as we faced Newton Storm in the North West Mens League.

Prior to the game, we were as close as we ever have been to forfeiting a league fixture in the last 5 years, however, with some hard work going on behind the scenes we managed to get a squad of 16 players available. Unfortunately, we had a couple of withdrawals on Saturday morning, meaning we went down to 14, before Winger Mark Riley came to the rescue and kitted up on the sidelines to get our final figure to 15.

Without wanting to sound defeatist, we always knew we were up against it, not only due to the low numbers, but also due to the fact it was a mixture of players who had pulled a shirt on, rather than a well balanced squad. Despite all this, you can always count on Bolton Mets to put a team out, and from first minute to eightieth we got effort and commitment from each and every player.

For the opening 10 minutes it looked fairly even, Scrum Half Daryl Devlin marshalled the players around the field and finished off the sets with some neat little kicks. However, once Newton broke through for the first try it started to become one way traffic.

The Home side managed to run in a number of tries in the first 40 minutes, some from skilful play and others from poor tackling, but the Mets players weren’t going to be downhearted. Captain Rick Ackers continually called for his players to keep their heads up and to never give in, this inspiring some good attacking play when we had the ball in hand.

Answering the SOS call on Friday, former Mets Forwards Adrian Briody and Gareth Smith carried the ball strongly throughout the first half, whilst debutant Hedley Coldrick shone out in the Centre with some fine attack and defence.

The men from St Helens managed to rack up a 44-0 score by the break, and with the heat sapping the energy of those in Brown and Green we didn’t hold out much hope in the second half. Head Coach Al Scarbrough made his half time team talk, basically asking everyone to stick at it and see the game through.

A couple more tries followed early in the half for Storm, but then it was our turn. Receiving a penalty right in front of the sticks, due to defenders being offside, Daryl Devlin scored the 2 points that not only got us on the scoresheet, not only meant we avoided being nilled, not only annoyed the Newton players, but that took his personally tally to 200 points for the club.

That was as good as it got for Bolton unfortunately, the side from St Helens ran the ball hard and knew they had options when taking it to the line. The score started to increase further as the half progressed, injuries to Ryan McClusky and Tom Banksmeaning we were now down to 12, giving Newton an additional advantage.

The game came to an end around 4pm, the score was very unflattering at 90-2, but knowing that we fulfilled the fixture when we were so close to forfeiting at the very least gave us something to cheer. Al Scarbrough praised his side, and said they should be proud to have pulled on a Mets shirt under such circumstances.

Playing his first competitive game in 3 years, Adrian Briody was named Opposition Man of the Match, whilst Ryan McCluskywas in the 1, 2, 3 for a third consecutive week, joined by Daryl Devlin as runners up. The scoreline tells you that our defence was far from perfect today, as such there will be no individual Top Tackler Award, instead we must praise the team as a whole for sticking it out and coming through the other side.

Bizarrely, despite having been beaten by such a score we still moved up a place in NWML Division 5 table, this is due to a team above forfeiting and therefore receiving a one point deduction.

Bolton Mets have a weekend off coming up, we’ll be back in action on Saturday 6th July when we host Blackpool Stanley at Greenhalgh’s Pavilion @ Bolton Rugby Club.

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