Preston U15’s v Bolton U15’s
By Wyn Price
Cup match on Remembrance Sunday
Date 11th November 2018
Preston U15s vs Bolton U15's
Round 3 Lancashire Cup match
Preston Grasshoppers Ground
Weather: Heavy rain clearing during match but heavy underfoot
Final Score Preston 15 : Bolton 31
Tries: Hodson x 3, Keogh x 2
Conversions: Price x 3
AKA The One Where 14 men played as a team and overcame 15.
On Remembrance Sunday, Round 3 of the Lancashire U15s Cup started in very wet conditions but the weather didn’t prevent Bolton and Preston’s players standing together in silence commemorating the soldiers fallen in the WWI and subsequent wars.
The weather improved throughout the time the boys were on the pitch, the grass was long making it was heavy in the foot but this wouldn’t stop a thoroughly enjoyable rugby match. The last time that Bolton had met Preston was at the end of last season's Cup competition where Bolton came off as winners with a try in the dying seconds of the match Would Preston get revenge at their home ground?
With both teams had won their first two cup matches, this would be the top of the table clash Everyone was anticipating this to be a close affair. Due to injuries and players away, Bolton turned up at Preston with only 14 players and so had to play the entire match one forward down (no number 8)
Bolton kicked off Ben Price found some space and Preston were slow to react, however Oliver Keogh was there to pick it up and drive up field. The forwards produced fast ball from the subsequent ruck and the ball was passed along the back line to Leon Hodson to open the scoring in the first minute, duly converted by Ben Price. This put confidence into the Bolton team who were going to have to work very hard today.
Preston restarted, Keogh attempted a Ronaldo kick and Bolton were penalised, from the ensuing lineout Preston drove into the heart of Bolton’s defence time after time until they scored.Bolton seemed to get on the wrong side of the referee and being penalised frequently frustrated the Bolton players. The forwards worked hard but were slow to the breakdown and the limited ball they won was slow and scrappy. Preston were able to maintain a period of pressure and scored another try. Giving them a 10:7 lead going into half-time but Bolton were still in the game.
The weather was now much brighter and Bolton spirits seemed undaunted by the increased work required to contain Preston’s pressure and their extra man. Preston with a scrum 5m out were able to turn it and allow their No8 to power through some tackles to score their 3rd unanswered try, 15:7 Would this be the story of the rest of the match?
Bolton had other ideas! The forwards as a group stepped up to their roles and work rate seemed to double, the rucks were being cleared effectively by Ben Malleviale, Luke Davies and Logan Singleton. We had worked on the pick and drive during the week and Shane Gillibrand, Tom Jenkinson discovered it works. Sam Atherton was strong in the loose and open play but it was Oliver Keogh who over kicked his first foray over Preston’s tryline but he didn’t mess up his next to touchdown. Ben Price’s conversion put them back in the game 15:14 to Preston.
The backs with Sam McDowell all over the park, Ben Price varying his attack and the two centres Leon Hodson and Harry McDermott strong in defence and attack.Confidence was high and tiredness was forgotten as fast ball from the breakdowns was shifted down the backline giving Cameron Milton and Josh Moore and few runs down the line.Mark Glynn saved try after try with his tackling. It was now Bolton’s turn to dominate play with 3 unanswered tries from Oli Keogh and Leon Hodson getting his hat- trick.
Bolton ended up winners 31:15 with everyone taking the Man of the Match award this week.
Little needed to be said as the boys basked in the sunshine at the end of a hard fought match and enjoy their success. We all spent a minute to reflect and remember the fallen soldiers of past wars.