North One West: Stockport 22-8 Glossop
Glossop’s promising start to life in North One West ground to a halt on Saturday when they came up short against a solid Stockport outfit.
Glossop made the journey in a buoyant mood, despite the hosts sitting at the top of the league and having recorded maximum points from their first four games of the campaign.
Matt Worthington returned to the pack in place of the injured Callum Baines, and Dave Stanley returned following two weeks on the side-lines. Unfortunately Stanley’s return was short lived when he was injured early in the first half, seeing the versatile Matt Sonczak move from the wing to the back row for the majority of the game.
Glossop won the toss and elected to play against the elements in the first half and as expected, Stockport played the conditions well and kept the Hillmen pinned in their own half for long periods.
Early pressure saw Stockport winger Ewan Holt land a penalty to take a 3-0 lead but just minutes later Glossop’s Rob Sonczak was also on target to level the scores at 3-3.
The home team had a clear game plan to kick into the corners and they executed this well, with Glossop struggling to gain any territory. The Glossop cause wasn’t helped when Lewis Winterbottom was yellow carded early on for a miss-timed tackle.
On 15 minutes, a Stockport penalty was kicked into the corner and the well drilled home pack shoved the Glossop forwards back over the try line for a score which was converted for 10-3.
Glossop were forced to defend for the majority of the remainder of the first half, with the exception of one or two fruitless forays into Stockport territory. Generally speaking the Hillmen looked solid in defence but their indiscipline in the wrong areas of the pitch would cost them, as Stockport’s Holt landed two more penalties before the turnaround to see them leading 16-3 at the interval.
With the breeze behind them in the second half, it was now Glossop’s turn to apply the pressure. They hammered away for long periods but struggled to breach a well organised Stockport defence. When Stockport were reduced to fourteen men for persistent indiscipline, Glossop turned down the option of a penalty kick at goal in search of a try to get them back in the game. Unfortunately this wasn’t forthcoming and they were disappointed to see Stockport extend their lead with another penalty from a rare visit into the Glossop half.
The Hillmen did get the try they had been looking for soon after, however. A penalty around half way was kicked to the corner and the forwards made good yards before the ball was shifted wide. Chris Sonczak, looking rejuvenated on the right wing, took the ball and neatly kicked behind the defence, winning the foot race to score in the corner. The tough conversion was missed seeing Glossop trail 19-8 heading into the final fifteen minutes.
At this point the visitors knew the next score would be key and try as they might, they couldn’t find the field position to apply more pressure in search of another score. In the final ten minutes Stockport found a second wind and were rewarded with two late penalties to put the result beyond doubt and it finished 22-8.
This was a frustrating day for Glossop who failed to capitalise on their chances and will be disappointed with their indiscipline and unforced errors in key areas.
They will have been pleased to restrict the league leaders to just one try at home and will carry the positives from this game into their fixture away at Wilmslow next Saturday (9th Oct).
Picture by Alan Briggs