Skegness RFC 2nds 3
Mellish 2nds 0
Merit League champions Skegness continued their impressive form from last season in a nailbiting affair that saw them narrowly defeat a strong Mellish outfit at Wainfleet Road.
The victory was made sweeter by the fact that this is a fixture the Blue and Whites had lost on the previous two occasions.
“I was so pleased with the 19 players that turned out,” said exhausted skipper Andy Hill.
“Although it did make team selection tough, it is a nice headache to have to deal with.
“With the youngest players barely 18 and the eldest player the wrong side of 60, it was a mixture of youth and experience that would prove to be the cocktail for success.”
Looking back, it might be a fair observation to say that the efforts of the veteran forwards at set pieces won the game for Skegness.
Mellish kicked off and enjoyed the benefits of the elements in the first period, kicking for touch successfully deep into the Blue and Whites’ half.
Lifters at the line out, Porter and Philpott, made Speirs looks deceptively light as they lifted him with ease time and time again to successfully pinch Mellish’s line out.
A young Mellish front row will have woken up sore in the morning after the heroics and sheer power of veterans Hill, Brown, and Stevenson in the front row, clearly intimidating the youngsters.
A. Hill and Johnson made sure the scrum was only moving in one direction that afternoon as their power help drive the visitors scrum back, or collapse too frequently.
By half time Skegness had absorbed the pressure and seem relatively unscathed.
With the score standing at 0-0 and the elements in the home side’s favour, it was all to play for.
A happy skipper had asked for his youngsters in the backs to be more involved in the second period, the aging forwards seemed happy to oblige.
Cameron, playing out of position at 10, was happy to run at Mellish when the opportunities came but with the wind in his favour he cautiously kicked for touch to gain territory.
The nearest Skegness came to scoring a try all day was when a miss pass call was opted for by the 10 (in their own 22).
This meant Cummings, also playing out of position at number nine, missed his number 10.
Instead a long looping ball was thrown out to Rayes who side stepped his opposite man and made off down field.
Unselfishly Rayes off-loaded to Hardy, whose strong running took Skegness into the visitors’ 22.
Wale, Warner, and Bentley would all play their part in a passage of rugby that was held up short of the Mellish tryline.
With 10 minutes remaining the game seemed destined to end in stalemate, until a penalty was awarded to Skegness just outside the Mellish 22.
Higgingbottom demanded the team kick for the posts and replacement Haigh, the youngest player in the Skegness side, secured the win for Skegness.
SKEGNESS: Brown, T. Hill, Stevenson. A. Hill, Philpott, Speirs, Higgingbottom, Porter, Cummings, Cameron, Rayes, Hardy, East, Wale, Best, Johnson, Warner, Haigh, Bentley.