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LIVERPOOL ST HELENS 27   SEFTON 21

A game played in constant driving rain, with not even the hardiest spectator venturing onto the terraces (well maybe one or two) produced a remarkably open and enthralling game. Both sides are to be congratulated for providing those sheltering in the packed stand with an entertaining Thursday night out.

With a lot at stake, nothing short of a bonus point win was on LSH’s agenda and they achieved it, just! For much of the eighty minutes it was very much in doubt as a purposeful Sefton outfit were clearly determined to have a bigger say. Both sides suffered injuries requiring changes to formations.  LSH hooker Chris Houlton retired early with John Arnold now hooking and prop Mark Fryer taking over throwing duties. It was however, Andy Northey’s decision to hold back the two remaining men on his bench until the second half, Ross McCauley and Dave Cunliffe that had the greatest impact and probably won the game for LSH.

LSH took an early lead in the 6th minute after good pressure from Josh Lynch won LSH a scrum in the right hand corner, from which number 8 Dan Webster scored. Converted by Jamie Morris. 7-0 Ten minutes later Sefton replied with a swift attack only to be stopped close to the line by a high tackle for which the referee awarded a penalty try. 7-7 LSH hit back with an excellent try coming from a pinpoint cross field kick from Matty Cunliffe, caught by Alex McBride and then passed to full back Matty Johnston scoring in the left hand corner. 12-7

The rest of the first half belonged to Sefton, scoring after 26 minutes when exploiting a huge gap in the in the LSH defence, converted to give them a 12-14 lead. LSH were under the cosh for the remainder of the half, but crucially, the score remained the same until half time.

Enter McCauley and Dave Cunliffe. As the rain continued to hammer down LSH went ahead in the 47th minute when Dave Cunliffe fly-kicked a loose ball towards the Sefton line and made sure that he was the first person to touch it down, converted, 19-12. By now though Sefton were having the better of the scrums and lineouts and they in turn went ahead in the 51st minute with a pushover try, converted. 19-21

That’s how the score remained for the next twenty minutes with both sides seeming to cancel each out in the centre of the field, until LSH were awarded a penalty 30 yards out, slotted by Matt Cunliffe to put them 22-21 in front.

As time ran out and the Moss Lane Faithful were nervously reconciling themselves to a win without a bonus point, LSH, admirably led throughout by Darren Wilson, launched a concerted attack. Winning a penalty close to the Sefton line the ball was tapped and launched into the path of Dave Cunliffe, building up steam as if a runaway train. The powerful centre hit the buffers with half a dozen Sefton players hanging on and touched down. 27-21. Job done.  

Team

15 Johnston 14 McBride 13 Cunliffe M 12 Morris 11 Lynch 10 McClurg 9 Wilson © 1 Gore 2 Houlton 3 Fryer 4 Royle 5 Potter 6 Arnold 7 Hull 8 Webster 16 McCauley 17 Hull 18 Cunliffe D


John Williams