Saints began their North 2 West campaign away to Wilmslow. On Arrival at Kings Road the travelling Anselmian army could be forgiven for thinking they had taken a wrong turn and arrived at a northern casting of ‘Stars in their Eyes.’
Top Gun, The Spice Girls, Amy Winehouse, and Elvis were all on-site as the hosts were enjoying a club Fun Day with fancy dress the order of the day. As always, the extended Wilmslow welcome and hospitality was of the highest order.
On a fine day with no less than six league debutants, Saints were keen to demonstrate a willingness to compete at this level but having lost the influential Player Coach Degsy Salisbury to a late fitness test the travelling faithful could be forgiven for fearing the worst.
The pitch was firm given the lack of rain and kick off was bang on 3pm.
On nine minutes, Saints threw into the lineout on the Wilmslow 22 and a well-worked move off the tail saw James O put away into a gap, managing to beat a defender on the way he made it to the try line to open Saints League account.
Dai Morley added the extras and the visitors were 0-7 to the good. Saints began to get into their stride and were working well with and without the ball.
A few thunderous midfield tackles later, Saints worked the ball well, deep into the host’s 22. On 19 minutes, debutant Jack Sanders was able to pick a great line to go over for his first Anselmian try. Dai added a further two points and Saints lead 0-14.
George Manger was beginning to box kick effectively and the kick chase was gaining Saints further territory.
Wilmslow continued to attack Saints with purpose at every opportunity, but the defence stood firm keeping a high line. Saints gave away a cheap penalty from a scrum on 26 minutes and the Wilmslow 10 kicked deep into the corner, a catch and drive followed by a few pick and goes earned Wilmslow a deserved try to narrow the score line 7-14.
On 32 minutes, Wilmslow were caught offside at the breakdown, 30 metres from their own line. Saints kept the scoreboard ticking over with a slotted 3-point penalty to make it 17-7.
On the stroke of half time, following powerful carries from debutant Rob O’Donnell and the ever-willing carrier Jack Richards, Saints moved the ball wide left for Jim Whitehouse to leave the opposition in his wake to score under the posts. HT 7-24.
The half time talk was about keeping shape and understanding the opposition at this level rarely goes away, the next ten minutes would be critical.
Saints started the second half with slightly more favorable conditions and on 45 minutes ,Jim Whitehouse was worked into space for his second converted try 7-31.
Saints were now beginning to turn the screw, the scrum had found its feet and the lineout was providing excellent ball to provide the perfect platform for attacking rugby. On 56 minutes, Rob O’Donnell managed to muscle over and secure the bonus point and the score now stood at 7-38.
Saints were now able to empty the bench and bring on the finishers. For the next 15 minutes, Wilmslow demonstrated that they possess plenty of fight at this level and pushed the Anselmian defence hard as they battled for points.
A clever turn over on 71 minutes saw Saints put Tommy Banks into a perfect channel for him to race in for Saints closing try.
Dai, with a perfect day with the boot, took his tally to six from six and the score 7-45.
Wilmslow threw everything at their opponents and the last play of the game caught Saints napping and they powered over for a closing try. Final score 14-45.
Special mentions to Anselmians’ league debutants – Rob O’Donnell, Kostja Vezanovs and Jack Sanders who all had solid games. 18-year-old Joel Ashton who had a try chalked off and made some solid tackles in defence.19-year-old Harry Graham at hooker who has a very bright future in the game and 21-year-old second Row Sam Gregory, who works tirelessly with and without the ball.
Next up is Altrincham Kersal at home on Saturday 10 Sept.
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15 Elliott Meredith
14 Billy Griffiths
13 William Martindale
12 Calum Lovatt
11 Fynn Meredith
10 Benjamin Kersh
9 Conor Mcmurdock
1 Oliver Stockwin
2 Robert Taylor
3 Rhodri Lewis
4 Louis Staples
5 Thomas Egan
6 Jeremy Sumner
7 William Downes
8 Alexander Taylor
S1 Charles Leddy
S2 Mark Bartlem
S3 George Whitham
15 James Whitehouse
14 Adam Bramhall
13 Ewan Nolan
12 Ransford Otutaha
11 Thomas Banks
10 David Morley
9 George Manger
1 Robert O’Donnell
2 Harry Graham
3 Daniel Salisbury
4 Samuel Gregory
5 Jack Richards
6 Jack Sanders
7 Thomas Gilbert
8 William Grabe
S1 Joel Ashton
S2 Kostja Vezanovs
S3 Niall Cavanagh