Bolton U13s vs Manchester U13s
The Day the Heavens Opened
Bolton U13's v Manchester
Bolton 1 Manchester 8
Weather: wet, wet, wet
AKA The one where we probably needed a bigger boat...
Bolton Under(water) 13's hosted Manchester in the rice paddy fields of Avenue Street.
At the corresponding away fixture earlier in the season, Manchester had proved to be formidable opposition with quality individual talent combined with passing flair and a strong team work ethic. Bolton would have had their work cut out to match them even on a perfect playing surface. The Bolton turf (surf?) was unfortunately less than ideal and fairly saturated with this week's rain. As the deluge continued to come down, a playable if soft pitch began to take on qualities more usually appreciated by ducks, submariners and shellfish than by blue-legged junior rugby players in shorts.
Manchester scored the opening try through their impressive winger who showed a formidable turn of speed and who continued to terrorise the home defence for the rest of the match. Bolton responded immediately to equalise through Oliver Keogh who ran on to his own kick to touch over for Bolton's only score of the game. The Bolton pack was struggling to get traction in the scrum despite their best efforts against bigger opposition and Manchester took complete control of the game through doing the simple things well. Their passing and running with simplicity and speed was too strong for the home side. Levi Waite and Sam Atherton both had strong games but Manchester succeeded in shutting down Bolton top scorer Leon Hodson effectively and Bolton's defence struggled to get around the pitch quickly enough given their lack of webbed toes.
Manchester were leading by eight tries to one with time still on the clock when the excellent referee brought proceedings to an early conclusion as the water had risen further to move the pitch status from 'dangerously hilarious' to just 'dangerous'. Although the conditions were the same for both sides, the visitors adapted better to them and despite a battling performance, Bolton will need to learn the lessons from playing against such a very strong side.