Manchester Medics 59 - 0 Liverpool Medics
A cold, damp, Wednesday evening at Old Bedians Rugby Club saw Manchester Medics welcome Liverpool Medics for the third of their NAMS group fixtures. Manchester were keen to keep up their early season dominance in the Northern NAMS conference, but were sure to still be feeling the effects of events, on and off the pitch, on the Isle of Man the weekend before.
Manchester, fielding one of their strongest teams of the season, got off to an exceptional start under the floodlights, with some electric footwork and handling in the backs, creating space for Tom Morris and Josh Thompson to gain early metres. And it didn’t take long for them to cross over the line, with Chris Davis scoring a well-worked team try after a string of penalties were awarded to the hosts.
Liverpool were being forced to work hard in defence, and Manchester’s ability to play the phases, meant that it was only a matter of time before a hole opened up again. It took some more smart work from the new 10-12 combination of Oli Knight and Owen Waldin, to set free Tommy Morris down the wing, who skinned his opposite number before unselfishly releasing to James Williams to crash over the whitewash for try number 2.
After being taught a physical lesson by Douglas at the weekend, Manchester’s pack were keen to front up this time round. The breakdown was fiercely contested early on, with Liverpool’s back row causing trouble, and creating turnovers. However when Manchester had a line-out in their opponents 22, the ball was kept in, and a strong driving maul saw the Manchester pack push Liverpool over their own line, allowing Marcus Clarke to touch down.
A conversion and penalty from Owen Waldin’s reliable boot, rounded up the scoring for the half, with the score at 24-0.
After the break, Liverpool were keen to try and inspire a comeback. However Manchester’s consistent line speed and intensity constantly thwarted Liverpool’s attack- Seth Rodger in particular was a constant menace in the contact. With the ball, Manchester's control and management, including smart kicking from the backs, meant Liverpool were frequently frustrated and had to play from deep.
It became apparent that the Liverpool team’s legs were being to tire, and bigger gaps were beginning to appear. And Manchester weren’t going to let these go unpunished, with a flurry of tries to finish the game.
The highlight of these came when second row Josh Luck scored the first of his brace of tries. He burst through the initial line of defence only to be confronted by the full-back. With supporting players on his left, it appeared that a simple pass would result in a score. Yet Josh had other ideas, as he showed the full back a sizeable dummy, leaving him for dead, before shrugging off the covering winger, to finish under the posts.
2 well taken tries from Manchester Scrum half Tom Thompson, punctuated by Josh’s second try and a 5-pointer from Will Pettit, were to follow, with smart footwork fooling defenders on both occasions. The second of the pair came in the last play of the game after more strong build up play from the forwards, including a scrum won against the head- testament to the desire and determination Manchester showed throughout the game. Owen Waldin clinically converted all 8 tries, to finish with a 100% kicking record for the game.
Liverpool fought right to the final whistle, but Manchester’s defence and domination at the set piece, meant that the game was never really in doubt from an early point. A real statement laid down from the Manchester Medics- who will progress as top of the North conference, and they will be keen to keep up this level of performance in both league and NAMS action.