Bolton colts 7 Aldwinians 21
Progress for the colts but not enough to claim the win.
Bolton 7 – 21 Aldwinians
Some sporting clichés are palpable nonsense: the idea that a 2-0 lead in a game of football is “the most dangerous lead” because a goal back for the losing team might induce panic can be charitably be described as being as accurate as the pollsters at the last General Election. Some clichés are more truthful: winning is a habit and losing streaks are hard to shake off. Teams with recent wins behind them play with confidence and don’t panic when opportunities present themselves. Sides who have failed to win for a while perhaps try too hard and tense up when the chances arrive.
Bolton Colts entertained their counterparts from Aldwinians on another sunny Sunday afternoon at the Theatre of Trees. The visitors started the stronger and Bolton played the first five minutes of the match without the ball as Aldwinians strung together a dozen phases of play. Bolton then turned the ball over and kept it for some time themselves, thus laying out the pattern of play for the rest of the first half: lots of endeavour in midfield with too much threat to either try line. The trend was bucked briefly after 15 minutes when the visitors capitalised on miscommunication in the home defensive line to create space for the fullback to score under the post, and again when Bolton won a turnover under the Aldwinians posts allowing Ollie Thompson to wrestle the ball over the line. The rest of the half was a midfield arm wrestle. Joe McHugh, Matthew Moore
, Darren Robinson and newcomer Max Holcroft
made good yards down the middle of the pitch, but were unable to make a telling clean break. Owen Patel
, playing his first match of the season in the centre ran strongly, but both defences held firm.
So 7-7 at half time and still 7-7 after 75 minutes, but nobody was quite sure how. The hosts had much the better of the second half as skipper James Evans
came more into the game. Only last ditch tackles a few yards from the line kept him out on a couple of occasions, and several of his team mates also came agonisingly close as it seemed only a matter of time before Bolton would breach the line to take the lead. The line remained intact, however, as a combination of excellent defence, a lack of composure and, finally, a knock on kept the home team from adding to the scoreline. In the final 5 minutes Aldwinians took full advantage of Bolton’s lack of confidence to force the ball loose in contact a couple of times and pounce on the opportunities to score two converted tries and take the game away from the hosts.
It is difficult not to feel sorry for Bolton as they strung together a lot of their best rugby of the season only to come up short at the end. At the current rate of improvement it will only be a matter of time before they turn the corner and end their barren trot. Aldwinians won because they defended really well, showed more patience when in possession and took their chances when they created them. Bolton could learn much from their approach, but for now the sporting clichés hold true.