There is always talk in sport of momentum: received wisdom has it that there will be periods of any match when things are going your way and you have to take advantage of that momentum, because there will always be periods of the match when your opponent will be in the ascendancy. In any close contest it is usually the team that takes their chances when on top that comes away with the spoils.
Which is more or less what happened on Sunday when Bolton Colts hosted their counterparts from Blackburn. Having conceded their customary early try Bolton played their best period of rugby of the season so far; the midfield three of Milo Holmes, Keir Kennick and James Evans were making inroads, and Tom Crook, Matt Moore and Alex Tonge were running hard up front enabling the pack to win good quick front foot ball. Firstly the ball was moved swiftly to the left for Evans to go over for a try, then, after another Blackburn score against the run of play, Kennick jinked round a couple of defenders to score under the posts. Leading 12-10 after half an hour it looked as though the home team had just to press on and continue doing what they were doing to come away with the spoils. Hesitancy at the breakdown by Bolton and the greater physical presence of the visitors took its toll and Blackburn scored again before half time to lead 15-12 at the break.
Bolton started the second half well and created several early opportunities, but poor handling let them down when good chances presented themselves. However Blackburn slowed Bolton’s attacking positions well by being more streetwise at the ruck. Joe McHugh and Ollie Thompson made good yards, but Bolton were unable to move the ball quickly or accurately enough to trouble the visitors’ scramble defence. Blackburn came back strongly towards the end and a couple of strong runs led to tries which put a perhaps unjustified slant on the scoreline.
So a better performance again from Bolton, but they know that they need to be more clinical when they work hard to create opportunities. They also need to spot those moments in a match when things are going their way and take full advantage of those opportunities.