North Two West: Glossop 29-21 Anselmians
Glossop welcomed Anselmians to Hargate Hill looking to extend their flying start in the league to six wins from six.
The visitors are back in North 2 West following relegation from North 1 West last season, so would no doubt prove tough opponents. Having made a number of high profile recruitments in the off season, the Wirral outfit will undoubtedly be seeking a swift return to level six rugby, and this match was always going to be a keenly contested affair.
Glossop were without Tom Dearnaley who was injured in last weeks victory in Cumbria, and the dangerous Lewis Winterbottom who was injured in training midweek. The reshuffle saw Zak Round move to fly half, with Greg Moran back in his favoured position of outside centre and Tennant moving on to the right wing.
The game kicked off in near perfect conditions and Anselmians took the lead after just four minutes when fly half McGovern slotted a penalty. Rob Sonczak hit back with a penalty of his own two minutes later to level things at 3-3.
The early signs showed the Glossop pack to be in control up front, with the scrum looking particularly effective. After 11 minutes a number of forward carries brought Glossop to within a metre of the Anselmians try line and flanker Edwards was on hand to burrow his way over for a try which was unconverted. 8-3.
The remainder of the half was well contested with the defence of each team tested but holding firm. A period of ill discipline from the home team saw a yellow card for Zak Round for a dangerous tackle, followed by a high tackle in midfield which saw McGovern strike with another penalty to reduce the deficit to two points at 8-6. Despite the visitors rarely threatening the Glossop line, another penalty just before half time saw the teams turn around with Anselmians holding a slender 8-9 lead.
Playing conditions so far had been excellent but at half time the heavens opened and for the remainder of the match the teams would have to compete against torrential rain and difficult handling conditions.
Despite this, Glossop were able to retake the lead on 47 minutes when the ball was moved to outside centre Greg Moran in the Anselmians ‘22 and he evaded several defenders on his way to the line. Sonczak added the conversion to make it 15-9.
Despite most of the play now being in the Anselmians half, it took them just five minutes to respond. A speculative kick deep into the Glossop half bounced back off the post, which wrong-footed chasing winger Tennant and forced him to carry the ball back over the Glossop line and touch down. From the resulting five metre scrum, Anselmians moved the ball to the left flank where winger Mark Petterson scored in the corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful meaning The Hillmen maintained the lead by the slenderest of margins at 15-14.
Glossop stuck to their task despite this set back and soon were back deep in Anselmians territory. The home forwards were working overtime in attack and making good yards through Lancaster, Chabas, and Joe Dearnaley. Defending resolutely, Anselmians were able to turn over possession but their attempted clearance kick was charged down by lively scrum half Chris Sonczak who won the race to the loose ball to score an opportunist try that brother Rob converted. 22-14.
Following the see-saw pattern on the scoreboard that had preceded, Anselmians would score next to again make it a one point game. Following the visitors best attacking spell, fly half McGovern slipped through a tackle to score under the posts, making the conversion a formality. 22-21 with only eight minutes left to play.
The conditions were not making handling easy but Glossop dug deep to take play back to the visitors half in their hunt for a fourth try to take the game away from Anselmians and earn a four try bonus point. They showed great composure to go through numerous phases and get within five metres of the Anselmians try line, only to lose possession at the vital moment. The visitors knew that any score would snatch the game from Glossop in the final minutes but their keenness to run the ball from their own try line would cost them as a spilled pass was snapped up by Moran and quickly recycled. Chris Sonczak showed initiative to dive over from close range to take the result beyond doubt and Rob Sonczak was left with a tricky conversion attempt that would deny Anselmians a losing bonus point. The full back duly obliged in what was the final act of a very competitive and entertaining game.
A very pleasing result for Glossop who stay top of “North 2 West” after game six. Next week they travel to Wigan for a tough fixture against league newcomers Aspull.
Elsewhere, Glossop 2nd XV lost 47-12 against Macclesfield 3rds, Matt Howarth kicked all the points. Glossop 3rds played a solid Ashton on Mersey at Glossop losing 12-32. Man of the match was Ryan Fitton.
Report by T. Woodman