Game of two halves for lacklustre Firsts

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Border Counties)

Southport Firsts 32, Oswestry Firsts 21
SOUTHPORT scored an early try from a quick tap penalty catching the visitors’ defence unawares but the conversion was missed.
Despite stern words by captain Andy Smith, Oswestry continued to look lacklustre and conceded another try soon afterwards again from a quick tap penalty, converted this time.
The home number eight picked up and drove over the line to score a well taken try, again converted.
An uncharacteristic spilled ball by Oswestry saw another kick through by the Southport centre and he took it well and offloaded for the home side’s bonus point try, unconverted.
Soon after, the home side built up phases in the Oswestry half and were awarded another penalty.

They then spread the ball wide and poor tackling by the visitors saw another try scored in the corner, again unconverted.
The Eagles went into half-time with their tails between their legs, with an injury to scrum half Nick Clay making the situation look even bleaker.
However, a good replacement in Kevin Evans and some well chosen words by Smith and team guru Martin Ord saw a completely different side emerge after the break. Andy Merrett took a great line to breach the visitors defence and burst through two more tackles to score a great try converted by Dan Williams.
This was the breakthrough the Eagles needed and they continued to pressure the home side.
Oswestry built up phases to get deep into the Southport half and a good run by Williams saw him take the tackle and offload to Chris Hesketh for an excellent try, again converted.
Davies saw the backs get some quick ball which was passed wide. Nick Howland looked to be through for a certain try but a superb last-gasp tap tackle by his opposite number denied him.
However, Oswestry were not to be denied and good handling saw Merrett score another well-taken try, converted by Evans.
Southport sensed danger and stepped up their game, earning a penalty in the Eagles’ half which was well converted.
With only a few minutes remaining Oswestry upped their game once more but it was not to be.
A disappointing first half performance followed by an excellent second half will give the Eagles something to think about during their week off with the next game at home to league leaders Manchester Medics on March 1.

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