Anselmians snatch victory in hard-fought match against Birkenhead Park

Another big week in the Saints season, a full clubhouse and perfect conditions for an open game.

This match was played between two evenly matched sides. Park have been on a good run of form of late and Saints knew they were in for a tough day.

Again, Taff and his merry band of helpers had provided a great surface for open rugby and Saints played away from the Car Park (Kop) end first half.

Saints immediately went on the attack from the kick off, when the visiting team failed to collect the ball allowing Saints an early put in to the scrum in an attacking position.

Tommy Banks was starting his first senior game since his injury in October and immediately demanded the ball from the ruck.

The home side managed to work themselves into good early positions. The Park defence stayed intact until the seventh minute, when from a five metre catch and drive, Gilly came up with the score and Dai converted 7-0.

Saints’ set piece was solid and the lineout was once again on point. Park were giving away silly penalties and after 15 minutes, Saints decided to keep the scoreboard ticking and elected for an easy 3 points 10-0.

The home side were beginning to control possession but suffered a lapse in concentration after 20 minutes, when Park managed to intercept near the half way line and race in under the posts 10-7.

Park showed their strength by winning their own quality possession but the Saints’ defence was functioning well.

Another penalty on the Park 15 metre was kicked into the corner for a catch and drive. Saints didn’t waste the opportunity and Danny Salisbury was at the back of the driving maul to touch down, Dai added the extras 17-7.

Two Park penalties on either side of half time took the score to 17-13 and Park were looking the more likely team to score.

On 57 minutes following good ball retention, Park fashioned a good try and were looking good for their 17-20 lead.

Saints’ back row worked well as a unit, providing quality lineout ball and chopping the Park ball carriers in defence. Liam was beginning to box kick cleverly and James O was running hard into the visitors’ midfield.

Park were once again infringing and Saints kicked penalties in the 65th and 73rd minutes to take the score to 23-20. Park were not going to lie down and they came back strongly and won their own easy penalty in the 78th minute to what looked like draw the match.

With two minutes on the clock, Saints attacked from the restart and wrestled back possession. Park would need to stay on the right side to see the game out. Unfortunately, the pressure told with a Park player straying into an offside position. The ref’s arm went out and the large Anselmian crowd took a deep breath as Dai slotted the winning penalty 26- 23 for an excellent hard fought victory.

Park played their part in an entertaining game played between two of the best sides in this league and the game was generally played in good spirits given the importance.

This along with last week’s victory is a big stride towards promotion with a trip to Vale of Lune next week followed by the final game of the season at home to Wilmslow. Saints’ destiny is in their own hands if they want to play at the highest level in the club’s 75-year history.

Image credit: Derek Salisbury Snr
3Birkenhead Park19140568735832913372
5Firwood Waterloo2012086065079911362
6Vale of Lune199010415484-698145
7Altrincham Kersal197012391470-799441
8Winnington Park207013494665-1717439
10Douglas (I.O.M.)205015382596-2145328
11Broughton Park183114316630-3143219

15 Andrew Cummings
14 Thomas Banks
13 Ewan Nolan
12 Ransford Otutaha
11 Adam Bramhall
10 David Morley
9 Liam Sadler
1 Kostja Vezanovs
2 Daniel Salisbury
3 Derek Salisbury
4 Robert O’Donnell
5 Fred Clark
6 Samuel Gregory
7 Thomas Gilbert
8 William Grabe
Anselmians Subs
S1 John Boundy
S2 George Manger
S3 Joseph Spencer

Birkenhead Park
15 Garin Roberts
14 Finlay Laing
13 Daniel Morgan
12 Adam Wellington
11 Samuel Tyrer
10 David Hall
9 Samuel Chidley
1 Alan Hughes
2 Peter Doolan
3 Joe Davies
4 Paul Hellier
5 Jack Ashcroft
6 Sean Mooney
7 Robert Doolan
8 Stuart Cross
Birkenhead Park Subs
S1 Nicholas Witte
S2 Harry Perkins
S3 David Morgan

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