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An alternative view.... Bolton vs Leigh

By Chris Cockton

Resident model Josh Holmes reports, having withdrawn due to a Monday morning 'Modelling' gig in Wales....

Bolton RUFC welcomed the Leigh RUFC’s first team to the ‘Theatre of Trees’ this weekend in a clash which could separate the title contenders from the frauds.

As I turned up late, I had to ask Paul Fernside for a quick report on the opening couple of minutes of the game to which he replied with ‘If we keep playing like this we’ll lose.’. Off to a great start then I presume?

10 minutes had passed and Leigh are making Bolton look extremely average both when in possession (which was not much) and when defending, In these 15 minutes our very very special vice captain Lou Critchlow decided he would pad his stats in his case for this weeks MOTM turning the ball over on numerous occasions which we can only attribute to luck and being in the right place and the right time. But alas it was to no avail as Leigh maintained possession well before moving the ball from the far right touchline across the field as there second row, who opted to only use his right hand to carry the ball at all opportunities, burst through the centre of the field due to a couple missed tackles before passing the ball (looked more like Kobe had come out of retirement to sink a deep 3) to the oncoming support. Owen Mckenna made all attempts he could but unfortunately a good offload from the Leigh winger to there scrum half meant they scored the first try of the game and converted it swiftly, this was later added to with a penalty meaning around 15 minutes in we found ourselves 0-10 down.

Bolton RUFC 0 - 10 Leigh RUFC

Bolton decided that it was time to pull up there socks and begin to turn the cogs. We started off with another turnover from the ruck before spreading it wide, soft hands from Niall Murphy, who played a wonderful distribution game that day, Andy Wood and Alex Waddicar meant that Owen Mckenna and Sam Smith were in a 2v1 on the wing. Utilizing the space Sam Smith smoked his opposite winger, and using all the weight he has recently acquired he persisted to palm the next man off, catch ya later, Sam started to stray across the pitch looking for oncoming support but was taken down at the opposition 22.

The next highlight was found a couple of minutes later with Tony McLaughlin taking a short ball in midfield straight at the defence, Tony carried 2 or 3 Leigh defenders with him before finally going down, at the next breakdown Lou Critchlow took a straight line like usual. Rocketing forward through the opposition 6 with his turnstile like defence was pancaked, see you never, galloping on he draws the opposition 15 like a baby to candy, before passing the ball onto the oncoming support in the form of our most reluctant tackler at the club James Singleton who coasted under the posts, Mike Mills converted.

Bolton RUFC 7 - 10 Leigh RUFC

Halftime came about and a substitution occurred, Rory Biggins made his way off the field who has significantly helped us improve our lineouts this year and is consistently playing well, to make way for Chris Cockton at hooker. With his first touch of the ball on the halfway line 5 minutes into the came he came crashing onto the ball and finding space in the ever collapsing Leigh defence, Chris Cockton carried on running up the field before giving a delicate pass to Lou Critchlow who managed to scurry under the far posts for Bolton’s second try of the game, Despite miss communication from Lou shouting he was on the left when really he was on his right luckily Cockers and Lou both travelled on the same happy bus back in there school days and managed to both do the wrong thing but actually get it right, divine intervention is what I call that. Mike Mills converted again.

Bolton RUFC 14 - 10 Leigh RUFC

Leigh’s heads seemed to go at this point as being penalized for being ahead of the kicker at the resulting restart meant our flanker Gareth Pritchard who had caught the ball and seemed to be the only one who knew what was going on ran to the centre spot before taking the dodgiest quick tap I’ve ever seen started to make his way up the field, before finding James Singleton in support on his left with a clever offload, who decided to go outside the realms of what he was used to and clearly has been watching too many Shaun Johnson montages on youtube at work and proceeded to make the worst attempt I have ever seen at a goose step and subsequently was tackled. We moved the ball down the left flank just outside Leigh’s 22 before passing it to Ben who ran sideways to the right flank, an overlap was created once again and thus the backs were calling the forwards to let the ball travel wide, fortunately they listened for once and thus Alex Waddicar found himself 1on1 with his opposite number and after breaking past him he managed to tip over his own belly and dive over the line for a tasty 5 points. Mike Mills converted.

Bolton RUFC 21 - 10 Leigh RUFC

Thanks to solid defence in the midfield from Andrew Wood who didn’t see much of the ball this week in attack, despite Will Bate not being at outside centre, but was great in defence and a couple of good tackles going in from Gareth Pritchard we managed to clear our lines and squander a couple of pressing Leigh opportunities.

Deep into the second half Bolton found themselves inside Leigh’s 22 again and were pressing forward for there bonus point. In a wonderful move Niall Murphy found himself at the 10 position, for the second week in a row he orchestrated a wireless with it going out the back of Gareth Pritchard to Mike Mills who then goes out the back again to Rhys Pritchard who bombs a 2on1, back into old ways, but instead leaves newly substituted winger Daniel Joseph with the job of clearing out the ruck, DJ like a rhino charging through an African savanna clatters the opposition off the ball, with the opportunistic Alex Waddicar at scrum-half he spots enough space on the blindside and this time heads further in and under the posts for Bolton's 4th and final try. Mike Mills converts.

Bolton RUFC 26 - 10 Leigh RUFC

Somewhere and I'm not exactly sure where or when this penalty happened but I presume Mike Mills slotted a penalty to add insult to injury for Leigh.

Final Score : - Bolton RUFC 29 - 10 Leigh RUFC

A great effort from Both teams and Leigh looked like a very well put together side for the first 20 minutes sometimes things just don’t end up going your way. We hope you have a great rest of the season and can't wait to visit

MOTM went to Tony McLaughlin for his consistent rucking and carrying of the ball. This resulted in us claiming our second and most important victory of the day in the pint race.

Updated 20:40 - 16 Sep 2018 by Chris Cockton

Where next?

Squad for Pre-season Friendly Named Bolton V Didsbury, 14:30 kick off at Avenue Street. Drinks in the clubhouse afterwards to celebrate Paul Fernside's 40th!


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