iverpool St Helens made a decent start to the New Year with a workmanlike win over an Oswestry side making their first ever appearance at Moss Lane. Although not the most fluent performance, particularly with the ball frequently handled as if a bar of soap, the Moss Laners were never troubled and crucially, did enough to register the all-important fourth try for a bonus point.

The game was preceded by a minutes silence in memory of the recent passing of LSH’s Chairman, President, Treasurer and player, John Bithell and was swiftly followed by the opening score after just two minutes. A break by full back Alex Kean was continued down the right wing by Dave Sutton who then won a kick and chase to touch down. 5-0.

An even battle amongst the forwards saw the sides sharing possession before LSH launched a strong attack on the visitors line leading to an effective catch and drive which in turn produced a try from hooker Chris Houlton, converted by Dan Filson. 12-0.   

A highly eventful last fifteen minutes of the first half saw Oswestry have their best spell of the game and yellow cards for Alex Kean ( stopping a breakaway illegally)  Dave Sutton (high tackle)  and Matt Cunliffe (at the centre of a melee), together with the most active Oswestry player in the same scuffle. The young referee from Manchester, one of the best seen at Moss Lane for some time, blew for half time with the score remaining at 12-0.

The second half saw two tries from LSH, a successful penalty to put the visitors on the board and a red card for Sutton, following a further high tackle, which, made without malice, drew the appropriate response, irrespective of the current RFU obsession with tackles affecting the head.  Throughout, Dave Cunliffe, standing in as skipper for the injured Darren Wilson,  led the side by example, constantly battering holes in the visitors defence and creating opportunities for his team.

Ian Stanley, making a rare appearance for LSH, notched the third try after touching down his own short range kick through, converted by Filson, 19-0, before Oswestry’s penalty. 19-3. With five minutes to go LSH made a determined effort to score the fourth try and were rewarded when prop Mark Fryer launched himself over the line after a charge from ten yards out. Converted. 26-3.


15 Kean 14 Sutton 13 Cunliffe M 12 Cunliffe D 11 Hodson 10 Filson 9 Stanley 1 Wilson G 2 Houlton 3 Fryer 4 Royle P 5 Gore 6 Molyneux 7 Burrows 8 Potter. 16 Williamson 17 Donlevy 18 Kearns.

John Williams