Visitors come out on top scoring 5 tries to 4 by Stockport
By Mike Atkinson
Superior physicality of Waterloo forwards gives visitors the edge in a closely contested game.
Stockport hosted close rivals Firwood Waterloo at Headlands Road and as expected there was a close fought game, with the visitors coming out 41-27 winners, scoring 5 tries to 4 by Stockport. Waterloo dominated the first quarter before Stockport scored with their first visit to the Waterloo 22. Waterloo dominated the forward battle, being much bigger and more physical, while the Stockport backs always looked threatening. The Stockport defenders had to make many more tackles than Waterloo and tackled well for most of the game. In the end it was about fine margins, with Stockport failing to convert well created opportunities. Perhaps the difficulty in getting the same side out on Saturday as that which has trained in the week has contributed to not making the most of these chances. With a 10-13 score at half time the expected close game was taking shape and right up until the final 15 minutes it could have gone either way but Waterloo’s two quick tries took it out of Stockport’s reach and beyond even a losing bonus point.
Waterloo dominated the early play, going through some 20 phases before winning a penalty in front of the Stockport posts to go 0-3 after 5 minutes. With Stockport’s kick off going dead Waterloo continued to apply pressure, going through phases and denying Stockport possession, the home defensive tackling was really good and Waterloo were held up over the line. With a penalty advantage from the scrum Waterloo moved the ball right for their centre to score a try converted by their No 15 to go 10 points up. After some 20 minutes Stockport got into the visitors 22 for the first time and a good line out gave lock Lucas Shelbourne the chance to pop a short pass to Dan Brotherton, who raced in for a try, Tom Eaton’s conversion made it 7-10. Stockport ran the ball from the kick off and the backs looked sharp they won a penalty at a scrum on the Waterloo 22 and drew level at 10-10. The visitors completed the scoring for the half with a penalty well into injury time.
Just 3 minutes into the second half a good drive from a line out by Stockport and a strong run by man of the match Simon Green allowed scrum half Rory Austin to go in for a try and Tom Eaton’s conversion took Stockport 17-13 ahead. Green made another good break but was stopped by a high tackle. Stockport were looking positive, a good counter attack had Ben Turner just beaten by the bounce as he looked to score. There was a penalty as Waterloo argued with the referee and Stockport had a good series of drives before moving the ball wide to the left and wing Taylor Hopkinson scored in the corner to take Stockport into a 22-13 lead. There was a very strong counter ruck by Waterloo on half way and their No 7 ran in from half way, with the added conversion taking it to 22-20. Both teams had good attacks but as the pressure by Waterloo built Stockport failed to clear from a scrum and Waterloo’s scored a converted try to take the visitors back ahead. There was a good period for Stockport but chances went begging as penalties were conceded. The greater power of the Waterloo forwards gave a try for their influential No 6 and with 5 minutes left the visitors had a 22-34 lead. The Stockport tackling for once was ineffective as Waterloo ran the ball from the kick off and ran in an all too easy try to go 22-41 as the game went into injury time. Simon Green caught the kick off and his run allowed Austin to score Stockport’s consolation bonus point try.
Next week is an away fixture against bottom side De La Salle with a 5 point win essential for Stockport.