You wait two years for a win .........
By Les Towler
Crewe & Nantwich 24 v 27 Bolton
Bolton junior colts headed off on the long trip determined to reverse an early season defeat against a powerful and physical Crewe & Nantwich team. Buoyed by the return of influential skipper Marcus Crompton and powerhouse second row James Harris, the cherry and whites were determined to take the game to Crewe and to try to impose their expansive style in the wide open spaces on the large pitch.
From the start Bolton showed their intention to play it wide stretching the Crewe defense who were scrambling well to cope with the Bolton backline - an early in jury to Lewis Warbuton brought Tom Didlock into the centres to great effect. A superb run by winger Harry Moxham took play deep in to Crewe territory, quick recycling by Crompton and Luke Bagnall allowed scrum half Sam Howie to feed Ollie Owen who timed his pass perfectly to Didlock to crash through three defenders to open the scoring.
Having controlled the first half, a number of silly penalties were given away, conceding territory and allowing Crewe to bring their powerful runners into the game and whilst not pretty, it was effective combined with some weak tackling, Crewe were able to take control and move 12-5 ahead. This spurred the cherry and whites into action, Myles Crook taking a scrum against the head and strong driving play from the forwards Joe Egerton and Josh Aspinwall combined to create another opening for James Harris to score and bring the half to a close with the score Crewe 12 Bolton 10.
The second half started well for Crewe with another well worked forwards try stretching the lead before Didlock with his second of the game brought Bolton back in touch. With renewed confidence the Cherry and Whites were now starting to once again take control with Regan Brown pulling the strings in midfield a clever kick through created havoc in the defensive line allowing Leon Bain-Hall to pounce for a try converted by Robert Harris to put Bolton ahead. With time running out the home team were once again gifted territory through poor discipline with the Bolton team caught offside - last ditch tackles from Jack Phillips and Josh Parry couldn't prevent what looked to be the winning score for the home team with just 3 minutes to play.
Looking to close the game Crewe kicked possession back deep into the Bolton 22 - Tobias Kinwood-Bailey picked up the ball and set off - shrugging off two defenders, and turning on the after burners the gap opened up and a 75m foot race ensued. Approaching the line, the score looked certain but with less than 5m to go the covering defender appeared to trip the Bolton flier preventing a certain try. Whilst a penalty and yellow card were awarded, the penalty try which would have sealed the win was not. From the penalty Bolton drove to the line but were held up resulting in a scrum to Bolton for what would be the last play. Captain Crompton picked and fed Howie who drew the Crewe winger releasing Kinwood-Bailey to finally get his try and secure the win the character, courage and ambition the Bolton performance deserved.