Stockport Defeated After a Tough 1st Half but a Much Better 2nd
By Mike Atkinson
After a poor start Stockport came back into the match really well and should take heart from the fact that they were never prepared to give up against a very good Blackburn side.
Report by Clive Oldham
Stockport travelled to 2nd placed Blackburn on Saturday showing many changes from the week before with three players making their 1st XV debuts. All the debutants were in the three quarters: Nicolas Copeland at No 10, Thomas O’Mahoney at No 12 and Taylor Hopkinson at No 11.
The home side started rapidly on the front foot with a try following a quickly taken penalty. The score in the corner went unconverted, but it was 5-0 after only 3 minutes - the signs were ominous. Indeed, more tries followed in the 6th, 14th, and 19th minutes, all converted making it an uncomfortable score of 26-0 for the visitors. Blackburn were dominating all the set scrums, so Stockport could find no respite even when the home side knocked on, which they did a few times. However, as Stockport visited the host’s half for only the second time, they were awarded a penalty as Blackburn were caught offside. From the ensuing line out the Stockport forwards mauled well, followed by a series of ‘pick and goes’. When the ball was released to the backs, standoff Copeland followed up his cheeky ‘grubber’ kick through the home defence to touchdown. Conversion by King, 26-7. Unfortunately Stockport could not build on this and soon found themselves defending again, which was becoming increasingly difficult as Blackburn attacked off the back of their dominant scrums. This resulted in two more converted tries making the score 40-12. On about halfway, Blackburn were penalised for ‘holding on’ in the tackle. From this line out, lock forward Sackville-West made a tremendous break down the left wing and as the spectators thought he would surely be tackled into touch, managed a great offload to enable debutant winger Hopkinson to score in the corner. The try went unconverted, 40-12. As the ball toppled off the tee at this conversion attempt, words were exchanged with the referee who then ordered the restart with a penalty to Blackburn. The home side capitalised on this getting their right winger in for a score with no conversion to make it 45-12 at half time.
The second half was far better for Stockport with the visitors at last showing some resilience in defence with Blackburn only managing the one score after 14 minutes which was converted, 52-12. So, with the Stockport defence now holding firm and the set scrums more steady after the introduction of Broadhurst, the visitors were able to put a few phases together in the Blackburn 22. As a result Blackburn were caught offside and again from the ensuing line out a good phase of play resulted in Currie going over for a great try, converted by King, 52-19. Blackburn only made two more incursions into the Stockport 22 following this score with the rest of the action being in the home side’s half. Unfortunately, Stockport could not get the bonus point score, which by now they most certainly deserved. So the final score was 52-19. After a poor start Stockport came back into the match really well and should take heart from the fact that they were never prepared to give up against a very good Blackburn side.
Stockport’s next game is in two weeks when they entertain Birkenhead Park.