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MANCHESTER 46 LIVERPOOL ST HELENS 33


As the score line suggests this was a tremendous game of rugby for the spectators, enjoying a Saturday afternoon in the late October sun. For both head coaches however, it was a real head scratcher with Liverpool St Helens seemingly out of the game at half time losing 31-7, then producing 33 minutes of magical rugby to take the lead 31-33 and then wilting under a renewed Manchester onslaught in the final minutes to lose by 13 points.

On a day therefore of mixed feelings and concentrating on the positives, Darren Wilson was once again outstanding; LSH Colt Alex McBride made his debut and after a cautious start got better and better as the game went on; and four tries earned a bonus point.   

Manchester made a blistering start scoring four tries in 30 minutes during which time LSH hardly touched the ball. Sadly when they did, a rampant home side regained possession almost immediately. Their tries came from two catch and drives and run-ins down the left and right wings on each occasion exploiting huge overlaps.

LSH finally strung a few moves together in the 35th minute to enable Mark Potter to score after a good catch and drive, converted by Dan Filson. (26-7). Any joy was short-lived however as Manchester moved the ball the length of the field to register their 5th try, just before half time.     (31-7)

With some of the travelling LSH Faithful wishing they had spent the afternoon in Tesco’s, what happened next was quite remarkable.  LSH were as brilliant in the next half hour or so as they had been dire in the whole of the first half. Immediately applying pressure they turned down two easy penalties in favour of scrums and were rewarded when skipper Darren Wilson arched around the Manchester defence to score, converted by Filson. (31-14). This was followed by another catch and drive try in the 56th minute (31-19) and then six minutes later by a typical blood and thunder effort from Dave Cunliffe, converted to reduce the gap to five points. (31-26). The recovery was made complete by the inspirational Wilson, latching on to a good pass from Dan Heslop to score in the right hand corner. Dan Filson slotted the touchline conversion to give LSH a sensational lead with just seven minutes to go. (31-33).

To their great credit, Manchester, by now appearing a little ragged, summoned up a final effort, won a penalty, kicked it (34-33) and then followed it up with another try from their backs. (41-33). Without letting LSH draw breath they added another (46-33) in the 79th minute.


Team

15 Kean, 14 Heslop Dan, 13 McBride, 12 Rawsthorne, 11 Hodson, 10 Filson, 9 Wilson D, 1 Wilson G,

2 Bonati, 3 Fryer, 4 Royle P, 5 Gore, 6 Molyneux, 7 Burrows, 8 Potter. Reps 16 Heywood 17 Donlevy,

18 Cunliffe D.



John Williams