Ince Rose Bridge 36:22 RNRL
By Keith Humpleby
Another cracking day at Ince Rose Bridge despite the result
A great welcome to RNRL on a very busy day for the hosts in this their centenary year, seemingly endless junior matches which bodes well for the grass roots game, a full on 2nd’s match against local Rivals Wigan St Jude’s and finally the big one against RNRL.
With Operations still drawing on the 1st team regulars the Coaching staff had a great opportunity to see some new players in a fully competitive fixture and all did the Brothers proud. With no recognised Scrum Half available Head Coach Steve Lockton put on his boots to partner Gav Duffy in the halves with coaching duties on the day going to Mark Robinson.
An unseasonably warm sunny day and a well prepared playing surface made for a great game and both sides put on a great show for the large crowd that had turned out for the match. The teams were led out by standard bearers from the Orrell Branch of the Royal British Legion and Cadets from both the Sea Cadets Corps and Royal Marines Cadets.
Following the formalities the game got underway on time with both sides making good use of the opening sets. It soon became apparent that the Ince side were used to playing together ahead of the new NCL season whereas RNRL had not played together with this line up so despite plenty of effort they it was tough going against the home side. This was borne out after 5 minutes when a good move by Ince put full back Peter Valentine over under the posts, the conversion was good so it was 6:0. Despite gaining in confidence the Visitors were still finding it hard going and the home side crossed twice more in the first quarter, with both trys being converted it was 18-0 and things were looking grim for RNRL. Although there were still errors the Brothers dug deep and as the half drew to a close there was much more confidence on the back of some great defence. After a couple of attacks faltered due to lack of ball control the Brothers finally made it, Tyler Mason–Holland finished of a cross-field move by RN to touch down out wide in spectacular fashion,18:4. That was to be the half time score with the Brothers settling much more into the game and asking questions of the Ince outfit.
The second half could not have got off to a better start for the RN, full back on the day Josh Coupland picked up a loose ball in his own half and cut straight through the Ince defence and won the final sprint for the lane to touch down the under the posts, another conversion for Tyler Mason –Holland brought Brothers right back into the game at 18:10. This was just the boost the RN needed and after a further 15 minutes of tough end to end play it was the Brothers who crossed again. Prop Danny Johnson took the ball on from ten metres out and barged his way over under the posts making Tyler Mason-Hollands conversion a formality so we now had a game at 18:16. The home side then gathered themselves with another converted try to stretch their lead again to 24:16 but the Brothers were now full of confidence, led by skipper Jack Basher with Steve Lockton putting in a mighty shift both playing as well as encouraging the new players. The next score went to the Brothers, Gavin Duffy burst through midfield leaving the home defence in his wake to touch down under the posts with another two pointer for Mason-Holland it was a two point ball game with 10 minutes to go. Unfortunately the Ince restart was fumbled by the RN defence giving the home side prime position midfield and 20 mtrs out. From the ensuing scrum the home side made the most of the chance thus restoring their eight point lead. As the clock ran down and with the Brothers now on the back foot the home side sealed the win with a late try to end the game 36:22 victors.
Great entertainment for the good crowd who enjoyed the game and the weather and credit to both sides for putting on a great show. Man of the Match awards went to Ince Loose Forward Robbie Valentine and to Steve Lockton for the RN. Despite taking a heavy hit to the head Lockton lasted the full 80 and had a major impact on the game throughout.
After the match the presentations were rounded off with a new enduring trophy for the fixture kindly provided by the home side. The Shield to be played for annually is named the Brodie Lee-Butler trophy named after a new player to the RNRL ranks. Brodie has his name is on the trophy as he is an Ince lad and played for the club prior to joining the service just before Christmas. Another back story to the game and unique to RNRL certainly is that Brodie lined up for RNRL on the day facing his Dad Martin who stated for Ince in the second row
Coached by Mark Robinson the squad for the game was
Josh Coupland, Jordan Wilds*, Tyler Mason Holland*, Liam Hand, Lloyd Williamson, Gavin Duffy, Steve Lockton, Adam Birkett, Jack Basher (C), Danny Johnson, Louie McKenna, Nate Neal*, Steve Riley (vc).
Reps: Alex Lewis*, Danny Oner*, Chris Simmons*, Brodie Lee-Butler*, Kieran Hart*, Callum Simpson*, Matty Bayliss*, Zac Ersoy*, Luke Conbeer*, Jonah Lovatt-McIntyre*, Chris Reeves
Those marked * made their Senior Debut for the Brothers