Lancashire RFU Development Plate Final
Liverpool St Helens 38 v 34 Preston Grasshoppers
Quite simply today’s game was undoubtedly the game of the season for the lads, not only was it the first ever final that the team had reached but it was also set to be the decider of three of games against Preston Grasshoppers!
The game did not disappoint, it turned out to be a 12 try thriller in which the lead swapped 3 times, the try of the season was probably scored and the game was only finally decided in the closing minutes. It was certainly a hard fought encounter that dispelled a few myths.
Firstly: ‘it’s a game of two halves’ – Today’s game was actually a game of a half followed by a third and then a sixth!
Secondly: As Ray French has often been heard to say ‘It’s the forwards that win the game, the backs just decide by how many’ – well I’m sorry Ray but today you were only half right: Whilst the backs may have decided by how many it’s safe to say that it was the squad that won the game today not just the forwards!
As the lads took to the pitch at the start of the game there was (not for the first time this season) a notable size difference between the two teams -
With the first half underway it wasn’t long before LSH capitalised on their legendary ‘pace out wide’ to score not once but twice without reply to take a 12-
LSH’s ordinarily strong scrum was under immense pressure from the Preston pack, so much so the lads were warned on several occasions by the Ref for ‘stepping backwards prior to the ball being put in’ – personally I saw it slightly different and viewed it as Preston may have pushed a shade or two early, but as every player knows the Ref is always right!
LSH responded brilliantly to the score by Preston, coming back to score a further 3 unanswered tries in the first half -
As the second half started the LSH lads became frustrated by some of the ref’s decisions and allowed their heads to switch off, consequently for the next 22 minutes (the 1/3rd!) they found themselves on the receiving end of a resurgent Preston. By the 20th minute of the half not only had Preston closed the gap on LSH they had taken the lead through 4 unanswered tries. A fifth was scored only a minute later putting Preston 34 -
There was however still time for the restart and what ensued was an intense period of pressure which the lads weathered to see out the clock to the final whistle.
A great team performance today and whilst Danny, Tom, Lewis and Cam may have scored the tries it was the squad that won the game. It was great to see both Charlie and Josh back in action today after long periods of injury. I just wish Charlie would have hit the tackles a bit harder -
Well done lads you did each other, the team, the coaches, our sponsors (Vinci), the club, and the spectators proud!