Bolton u18 Colts 14 – 42 Tarleton u18 Colts
By Mark Byrne
Defense slips cost home team dear
Match reports are difficult to write: certain things happen a lot in rugby matches and it is hard to write comprehensively about any game without constant repetition. For instance, it would be impossible to write about Bolton Colts’ latest match without repeating the phrase “Tarleton broke away from their own half and scored under the posts” six times. It could have been so different if the Bolton team had made just half a dozen more tackles during the 70 minutes, but they only have themselves to blame for the lop-sided scoreboard.
On an afternoon of bright sunshine for the spectators but a difficult low sun shining straight down the pitch for the players Bolton started brightly enough and put together some encouraging passages of play without threatening the visitors’ line. Tarleton were defending well through their back row and in the centres, and when good defence caused Bolton to turn the ball over …… you can guess the rest.
This pattern was repeated twice more in the first half and three times in the second. On each occasion the home team had the chance to stop the Tarleton player before he got up to speed, but each time the first-up tackle was ineffective and subsequent attempts lacked conviction. This was disappointing, because in between the defensive lapses Bolton played some good rugby and strung together many good passages of play. Joe McHugh, Matt Moore, Jack Byrne
and Tom Crook made good meters up front and James Evans
threatened all afternoon in the centre. Jos Winstanley
organised play well from fly-half and Owen Patel
came close a couple of times early on the wing, but ultimately Tarleton’s defence held firm and their outside backs were allowed too much space out wide.
From 21-0 down at half time Bolton conceded another score as described above early in the second half before Matt Moore crashed over to encourage the home supporters, but several missed tackles later the gap on the scoreboard was restored. The home team’s heads never dropped and first Alex Greenhalgh
reached over for their second try and then James Evans
, who had converted both earlier scores, was held up over the line following a strong forward drive. Tarleton had the final say, however, to round off an ultimately frustrating afternoon for the hosts.
Bolton are showing definite signs of improvement when in possession, but they cannot miss as many tackles as they are currently doing and expect to pick up the first win. If these defensive lapses can be rectified there are enough positives elsewhere to show that the season can still turn out well.