It was the former players’ lunch at The Avenue on Saturday, so a good home crowd were lining both sides of the pitch, adding strong vocal support for the Cherry and Whites (They even gave the referee some advice on how to referee!) This was Altrincham-Kersal’s first visit to The Avenue and both teams have made a positive start to the season; it promised to be a good contest.
The game started with both sides trying to dominate possession and within six minutes Altrincham-Kersal were awarded a penalty for off-side. Their kicker missed the attempt at goal. Altrincham- Kersal put a lot of pressure on Bolton but their defence held firm. Bolton moved towards Altrincham-Kersal’s try line and were awarded a penalty in the seventeenth minute, which Mike Mills converted. This was followed by a penalty to Altrincham-Kersal in the twentieth minute that levelled the scores. A good break by the Altrincham-Kersal winger led to Josh Holmes tracking back to make the tackle close to the Bolton line. He got up straight away to make the second tackle before the forwards arrived to secure the ball. Bolton started to control the game but unfortunately let a couple of chances slip by. In the thirty- first minute Altrincham- Kersal had a line-out about ten metres from the Bolton line. From the ensuing rolling maul they went over in the corner to score the only try of the match. Towards the end of the half the referee deemed Rhys Pritchard had tackled a player without the ball and was given a yellow card for the last five minutes of the first half.
Half-time score Bolton 3 Altrincham-Kersal 8
Bolton started the half with fourteen men and Altrincham-Kersal put the Bolton defence under a lot of pressure in their own twenty-two. Bolton twice denied Altrincham-Kersal a try when they were held up over the try line. Gaz Pritchard led the defence with some strong tackles and was supported by the other members of the team. After eight minutes of the half Rhys Pritchard was allowed back on the pitch. Bolton had weathered the storm and drove Altrincham-Kersal back into their own half. For a time, they were camped in Altrincham-Kersal’s twenty-two and made numerous attempts to try to cross the try line. Stout defence kept Bolton at bay. Bolton never gave up their ambition and right to the end of the match they tried to run the ball to score a try. On one such occasion the movement started inside their goal area and Bolton managed to get to the Altrincham-Kersal’s ten metre line before being stopped.
Final score: Bolton 3 Altrincham-Kersal 8
The spectators enjoyed an entertaining, fast paced match. Both defences were efficient and there were strong tackles in the game with no quarter given. I imagine there were one or two sore bodies on Sunday morning.
Man of Match: Gaz Pritchard
Quilter Kids First Champions winner – March: Minehead Barbarians RFC