Fylde Senior Colts 27-15 Bolton Senior Colts
Dominant performance by a new Colts team, but unable to convert into points.
In a new departure for the Bolton RUFC, the senior and junior colts have joined forces under the senior colts banner. Whilst consolidating player numbers this has meant that two squads of players with differing styles of play have had to be amalgamated, and the first test of this integration came on Sunday at Fylde RUFC.
A trip to Lytham in early September would normally be a treat, but the travelling Bolton players and families were greeted by driving rain and the conditions played a large part in the course of the game. Fylde kicked off and the game settled into a pattern which scarcely changed throughout the game: the Bolton forwards with captain Tom Crooks, Matt Moore, Darren Robinson and Alex Greenhalgh
to the fore carried the ball strongly, but the well-organised and brave Fylde defence refused to be breached. Time and time again the Bolton pack took the ball up, but were unable to find a gap in the defensive line. The key was to remain patient, but ball was coughed up as Bolton tried offloads and passes which the conditions didn’t really allow and a lack of accuracy and awareness at the breakdown allowed Fylde to stay in the game despite Bolton dominating possession and territory. From one such knock on Fylde won a scrum near their own line and their centre ran 90 metres to score under the post as the Bolton defence looked at each other. A short while later after a rare passage of pressure Fylde won a penalty and kick a penalty from distance. So after half an hour of play Bolton found themselves 10-0 down without the opposition having had any possession in the Bolton 22.
With the Bolton pack having the edge in the scrum through Harry Dawber
and Harry Round
and dominating the lineout they came back again strongly with half backs James McDowell
and Jos Winstanley
linking well, but with Bolton camped on the Fylde line and threatening a first score time ran out and the referee blew for half time.
With several changes to personnel made at half time the second half continued in much the same way, with Bolton having the majority of possession but unable to breach the Fylde defence. Having tried to kick for the corner and launch a driving maul without success on a couple of occasions, Bolton eventually got on the scoreboard when James Evans
landed a penalty. A few minutes later after further Bolton pressure Jack Byrne
finally found a gap in the Fylde defence and appeared to score a perfectly good try, but the referee failed to see the grounding. Undeterred, the visitors finally scored a try when Tom Crook was driven over. James Evans
converted and at 10-10 it looked as though Bolton might finally overcome the stubborn Fylde resistance, but the home team then had their best period of the match. Their centre raced 80 metres for another long range try as the Bolton defence tripped each other up, a penalty try was awarded for a high tackle on the winger when there appeared to be Bolton cover and then the home team scored a well-worked try in the opposite corner.
The most encouraging aspect of the afternoon was the way Bolton bounced back after that 10 minute blitz. The final act of the match was Owen Patel
touching down following a well-judged kick through from Jos Winstanley
So lots to work on for the players and coaches, but lots of good things on which to work. Bolton will need to look after the ball better and make better use of their opportunities, but there is an enthusiasm and a willingness to work hard amongst the group of players which will allow the team to develop into a force to be reckoned with as the season progresses.