A ‘tale of two halves’ is a phrase that is so often used in sport, there is no other way to describe saturday’s NWML clash between Rylands Sharks and Manchester Rangers without using such a phrase.
Steve Molloy’s Rangers defended a spirited Sharks second half fight back to ensure that they went home with a vital North West Mens League 2 points. The watching Rangers fans were left biting their nails as the Sharks came close to clawing back the visitors lead, but ultimately fall short in what was an entertaining fixture.
Rylands were arguably the better side in the opening quarter of the game, enjoying some lengthy spells of possession with wave after wave of attack at the Rangers line. Manchester Rangers, coming into this fixture after a heavy loss to the league leaders a week earlier had some excellent scrambling to keep the home side scoreless during this purple patch.
The Rangers stood firm in defence of their try line, and showed excellent composure in both defence and attack before Kyle Buckley-Mayall broke the Rylands line and also the deadlock by racing 40 metres and scoring his third try of the league campaign. The try was duly converted by Rangers fullback and Man of the Match Jubril Olajide.
David Gooch offloads to put Dolan in for his first try.
Molloy’s charges by now were starting to exert their authority on the game, and an excellent short ball from David Gooch saw Josh Dolan scoring his first try of the afternoon, Olajide missed the conversion to make the score 10 – 0.
With half time drawing closer, Rangers extended their lead after Dolan got his second try of the afternoon after a very similar play to his first. Olajide this time adding the extras.
HALF TIME SCORE: Rylands Sharks 0 – 16 Manchester Rangers
Half time couldn’t come soon enough for the Sharks, who on the stroke of half time were looking deflated and without many answers to the Rangers attacking threat.
However, Rylands are a good side and the home team dressing room must have held host to a rousing team talk as the Sharks started the second half rejuvenated. Soon posting their first points of the game, to a rapturous cheer from the watching Rylands spectators. After failing to add the extras Rylands were now only two converted tries behind.
The home side were fully brought to life after this, with the pack starting to make some good headway against the Rangers defence and scored two more tries in quick succession, again both conversions were unsuccessful. Trailing 16 – 12 the home side were starting to look the more confident out of the two teams, before Rangers prop forward Dan Stroker went over the whitewash to stop the rot and notch his side four more points in front. Olajide with the conversion, 12 – 22.
Dan Stoker takes on the Sharks defence.
Sharks prop forward Tony Fretwell had a disagreement with the Match Official after that Stroker try and was sent to the sin bin for dissent, leaving the home side down to 12 men for the remainder of the encounter.
The game had turned into an open affair with both sides throwing caution to the wind trying to unlock each other’s defence. Rylands came up with an instant remedy crossing for their fourth try of the match with a well worked move down their left flank. After converting the try Rylands were again only 4 points behind the Rangers, 18 – 22.
This was to be the last of the sharks fightback however, as Josh Dolan rounded off an excellent individual performance with a Hat-Trick of tries, Olajide with the conversion once more to make the score 18 – 28.
FINAL SCORE: Rylands Sharks 18 – 28 Manchester Rangers
Rangers Head Coach Steve Molloy said after the game;
“I think that is probably the best performance we have had all year, the first half performance was better than the one from our game with Culcheth.
“We came up against a skillful and physical Rylands outfit and they opened us up a few times early in the game.
“Our composure was key throughout the game and even when they started to come back we remained calm and saw that we maintained our lead.
“We knew that Rylands were capable of scoring some tries, they are a very good team and I think we have come up with a very good win here today.
“It is important that we now start to string together some consistent performances.
“We have got a short turn around, but our focus is now firmly on Runcorn at home next week.”
Manchester Rangers host Runcorn RLFC Friday 15th may 2015 at Manchester Regional Arena. Kick Off 19:30
ADMISSION: £2 Adults / £1 Concessions / £5 Family (two adults & upto 4 children)
|9th May 2015||2:30 pm||North West Mens League Division 2||2015|
|Rylands Recreational Club|
Rylands Sharks ‘A’
Head Coach: Steve Wych
|4||Joe Moura Da Luz||Centre||1||0||0||0||0|
|11||Private: Joe Regan||Prop||1||0||0||0||0|
|6||Private: Kyle Buckley-Mayall||Centre||1||1||0||0||0|
Head Coach: Steve Molloy