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TEAM MANAGER Dale Milburn 108milburn@agmail.com 07810 053316

April 22nd

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 - luckily the LSH lads are used to this are weren’t phased by the size differential (even if the parents were)!

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 12-0 lead. However it wasn’t plain sailing by any stretch and the LSH lads had some fierce defensive work to do to keep Preston at bay, it was clear that the superior size of the Preston team meant it was simply a matter of time before they scored as LSH repelled wave after wave of pressure on their own line holding Preston up over the line on at least 3 occasions before they finally scored to narrow the gap to 12-5.

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 - including what I referred to above as possibly the try of the season by Danny McGibbon. Collecting the ball on his own five meter line Danny set off from his position on the left wing, running across the face of his own posts avoiding the Preston defence as he did before sprinting down the right wing to score under the posts having beaten every Preston Player on the way. ‘Pace out wide’ I should say so – by the bucket load! The half ended 26 – 5 to LSH.

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 -26 in front. As Preston celebrated, sensing a win, the LSH lads had some stern words with each other and decided they weren’t giving up without a fight. Game on! 8 minutes (the final 1/6th!) to go and as many points behind LSH restarted the game and reignited the contest by scoring under the posts, with the time ticking by the conversion was dropped kicked before Sean had even thought to pick up the kicking tee. LSH were now one point behind with 3 minutes left - was it possible! From the restart LSH gathered the ball and did what they do best - spun it out wide allowing Tom to score in the corner. LSH 38 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  - A view I guarantee wasn’t shared by the Preston centres – after all, as they say ‘the bigger they are the harder they fall’ – They were certainly big and boy did they fall hard – great comeback Charlie.

Well done lads you did each other, the team, the coaches, our sponsors (Vinci), the club, and the spectators proud!