A Draw At Hoylake
By David Crouch
Hoylake 15 Bolton 15
Bolton travelled to the Wirral for a first-time fixture with Hoylake. It was a very windy and rainy afternoon. Even during the warm-up, the heavens opened, and all the players were soaked before the match started.
The wind was blowing diagonal across the pitch. Hoylake started the game with intent and took the game to Bolton, with some direct running and good ball retention. Bolton tackled well and when they won the ball, they moved it wide and made good ground. In the twelfth minute Bolton had the ball close to Hoylake’s line and after two attempts to drive over the line, which were thwarted by Hoylake, a lovely inside ball from Harry Stocks
saw Louis Critchlow
crash over for the first score of the match. Mike Mills
added the conversion. Bolton had a couple of clear chances to increase their lead, but poor decision making meant they lost those opportunities. In the twenty-first minute Hoylake scored and added the conversion. Again, the opportunity for Bolton to score was denied by good tackling from Hoylake and poor ball retention from Bolton. In the thirty-first minute Mike Mills
converted a penalty. The final try of the half went to Hoylake in the thirty-ninth minute.
Half-time score: Hoylake 12 Bolton 10
The rain persisted in the second half and the pitch began to cut up and both sides tested each other’s defence at the beginning of the second half. In the fifty-fifth minute Hoylake had a penalty for off-side which they converted. Bolton were very much on top and some very stout defence from Hoylake held them out. Will Bate
and Ben Cottam
made some strong runs at this stage of the match. Mike Mills
was unlucky when his penalty kick hit the post and rebounded back into play. In the sixty- eighth minute Bolton were held up over the try line. Bolton kept the pressure on Hoylake and right at the end of the match Ben Cottam
scored a try form a rolling maul. The ensuing conversion, by Mike Mills
, hit the post again and both sides had to settle for a draw.
Final Score: Hoylake 15 Bolton 15
Hoylake were a very spirited side and defended well. Bolton should have scored three or four more tries, particularly in the first half. They had to be content with a hard-earnt draw. Bolton are still third in the Lancashire/Cheshire League 1.