Liverpool St Helens 15 Wilmslow 13

First published in Sport

Liverpool St Helens remain on top of North One West after this narrow and hard fought victory over Wilmslow. In what proved to be a low scoring but highly entertaining game both sides handled the conditions well including a biting wind and a heavy pitch.

LSH kicked off with the wind behind them and after early pressure earned a penalty in front of the posts, which the normally reliable Greg Smith proceeded to blast wide into the adjacent farmers field.

Whilst the Moss Laners dominated possession throughout the first twenty minutes Wilmslow looked dangerous on the counter attack and they duly took the lead on 22 minutes after they were awarded a penalty. Stand- off Bob McCallum stepped up to slot it home to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.

This prompted LSH into a more determined passage of play and after 32 minutes Ian Stanley produced a fine kick upfield and an error by the Wilmslow full back resulted in winger Jake Hodson going over in the corner. Just before the break second rower Dave Westhead popped up on the right wing to score the second try and with Smith, not having the best of days, missing the conversion, this left LSH 10 –3 in front after an exciting first half of rugby.

Wilmslow started the second half brightly and were unlucky not to score after some flowing play. LSH hit them on the counter and five minutes into the second half skilful footwork by Stanley enabled number 8 Sean Mackin to score an excellent third try. Once again a difficult conversion attempt was missed. After 55 minutes Wilmslow were awarded a penalty for offside, but were unlucky to strike the post.

A few minutes later Wilmslow full back McCall was sin binned when LSH were awarded another penalty, missed this time by replacement kicker Paul McClindon, although having a fine game on his return at inside centre. With 10 minutes left the game was completely open and LSH should have wrapped the game up in the 73rd minute when only some excellent Wilmslow defending from sustained pressure close to their line prevented another score.

Wilmslow asserted in the final five minutes and deservedly scored a last minute try which was converted to send them home with a bonus point.

This Saturday LSH travel to Vale of Lune. 2.15 ko.

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