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WEST PARK 19 LIVERPOOL ST HELENS 15  (16/11/2019)

With both clubs on a poor run of form and both understrength it was difficult to know what to expect from the always eagerly anticipated clash between them. What we got was 80 minutes of huge effort from both sides, five tries, a smattering of errors, the odd controversial decision, an unfortunate set-to, and a close game with the result in the balance right up to the final whistle.

This was a much improved performance from LSH, showing the sort of form and application as in the early weeks of the season. The emergency half back pairing of Florin Iancu and Robert Sexton performed well and looks promising for the next few weeks, young Ruari Hennigan on his debut showed decent pace, particularly when chasing back in defence and the ever-reliable Alex McClurg had a fine game at inside centre. Sadly LSH were ultimately undone by the speed and excellent handling of their West Park counterparts.

West Park opening the scoring as early as the 4th minute after nicking the ball from a ruck, converted 7-0. LSH worked hard to reply in the 20th minute after a fine burst out of defence by Alex McBride, sadly later forced to withdraw through injury, finding winger Josh Lynch to score neatly in the right hand corner. 7-5. in a telling next two minutes an LSH clearance kick was run back 70 yards with sound hands to extend Park’s lead to 14-5. A 40th minute penalty from McBride reduced this to 14-8 to go into the break.

A more than even second half saw the home side go further ahead with another excellent try in the 58th minute 19-8, leaving LSH eleven points adrift. With the lineout working better than normal and the pack beginning to assert, LSH had plenty of possession in the last quarter to respond.  Their pressure was rewarded in the 72nd minute when flanker Conner Thompson crashed through on the left, converted by Sexton. 19-15.

West Park however were not going to give up their lead easily, and they didn’t, doing enough to ensure that the final eight minutes were scoreless.

Thanks must go to the hosts for the splendid Steak Pudding, Chips and Mushy Peas served up pre-match to the LSH officials. Our President commented that it is his second favourite meal ever, after Mrs French’s hot-pot. Our long serving and loyal flagman, Cloughie, was delighted to be invited to join in for a plateful saying, “This is far better than sneaking in for a sandwich!”


Team

15 McBride 14 Walker 13 Hennigan 12 McClurg 11 Lynch 10 Sexton 9 Iancu 1 Gore 2 Jackson J 3 MacCauley 4 Royle (capt) 5 Hall 6 Hull 7 Thompson 8 Webster 16 Heywood 17 Arnold 18 Forster 19 Richardson.


John Williams