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Power-packed Laners earn a bonus point
1:24pm Thursday 14th February 2013 in Sport
Liverpool St Helens did what they had to do against Anselmians to maintain their strong challenge in North One West with a power-packed display earning a bonus point victory.
In what turned out to be a hard slog in the mud, both sides made light of the four week absence of action to produce, in the circumstances, an entertaining game full of effort and endeavour.
On a surface which made the much maligned Stade de France look like Lords, the home side’s officials, both sides and the referee should be congratulated on getting the game on in the first instance and then simply getting on with the game.
LSH could not have had a better start.
In the first minute a high kick down the Malone Field slope from full back Ian Stanley was followed up by Matt Gaines resulting in the ball bouncing back to the eager Stanley to sprint over from 20 metres to score, converted by Greg Smith.
The pattern of the game was then set by both sides playing close quarter, stamina sapping rugby.
Anselmians full back Williams slotted a penalty in the 11th minute before LSH went further ahead, five minutes later, after a well executed catch and drive took them almost over the line before being awarded a penalty try, Smith again converting. The home side then enjoyed a strong period with a sustained attack on the LSH line.
This brought out the best in the LSH back row of Phil Kearns, Jamie Clare and Sean Mackin who led the impressive resistance which crucially, held firm.
Clare in particular had an outstanding game, although this was a day when all eighteen players emerged with great credit, including Matt Cunliffe stuck out on the wing with his hands in his pockets for most of the afternoon.
And then, just before half time, LSH registered a crucial score when Stanley and Paul McClindon combined to release centre Neil Hull who weaved his way over for a try in the corner to give LSH a 3-19 lead at the break.
Anselmians started the second half brightly and Williams kicked a second penalty to reduce the arrears.
Now in pursuit of the vital fourth try LSH gradually asserted and the game was played mainly in the home side’s half.
With the steady rain continuing and the underfoot conditions now worsening this was no easy task, compounded by a huge and determined Anselmians effort in defence.
This was eventually breached in the 68th minute by Mark Williams launching himself at the try line and reaching out for the touchdown, Smith again converting before adding a penalty to complete the scoring.