No Arthur Crabtree this week, so I'll do my best. And we also didn't file a match report from the game away at West Park St Helens, which was the last game we lost (18-14) so I will briefly reference that here.
That was another tough game for the boys after a brutal match the previous week against league leaders Widnes, who we thought were excellent in the first half. Those back-to-back defeats effectively ended any hopes we had of challenging for the top two this season. But we have still made some good strides this season and there remains plenty to play for. We have an away trip to Widnes in the cup on the first Saturday of April, so details of that coach trip to come. There is bound to be at least one pub stop on the way back.
We also have three home games to end the season (we are back at Ford Lane now). The Oldham game has been rearranged for March 30th, which means we have a resurgent Tyldesley next week (9th), Super Saturday Social on the 16th (details of that will be circulated), then Liverpool St Helens (23rd) and finally Oldham.
Availability (and injuries) have been very good recently - we're choosing from a healthy squad of players. The teams that we've been able to put out this week and against Heaton Moor have been the strongest all season. Not sure if it's in some way down to the Pilates sessions the lads are doing at the moment - but the commitment to those seems to be quite high. Saying that, on Saturday we put out a pretty handy second XV on paper and they got well-beaten by Whitchurch, so not sure what happened there.
It was a good performance from the team yesterday against local rivals Trafford MV. We've had some good battles in the past with MV and been on the end of the odd hammering, so it was encouraging to get some ball and run-in some tries. We found it tough going against Heaton Moor's pack two weeks ago, which took a lot out of us. Again, the MV and Toc players tend to get on pretty well so they had a few beers after the game. Think Trafford attempted 'The Didsbury Dozen', as standard.
In the match itself we got on top quite early on so had the luxury of some scoreboard pressure for the whole game. Defensively we were also good again, as we were for long periods against Moor. That's been a major area of improvement for us this season. Some big performances in the pack again, with Harry Jones and Harry Rigby pivotal.
Being able to play Owen McIntosh and Will Rayner in the second row makes a huge difference to us, not just because of their power and energy but because it frees up some very handy back row players who can add a lot in attack. James Howarth is also fit again next week so some real options there.
Backs got it going as well on Saturday. Winger Matt Jones got three - that's 10 in 7 for him, what an addition he's been - and Luke Richmond put in a good shift in the centres. Rory Gibson and Tom Makin were a handful all day. The win moves us up to fourth in the table. It's a tough game next week against Tyldesley who have now won back to back matches, against Trafford and Aldwinians. We have had two tight games against them already this season, so we will make sure we're well up for that one. Arthur is back on match report duty next week.
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