Tarleton Firsts were up against local rivals Ormskirk at Green Lane on Saturday knowing that they would be facing a stronger side than the one they beat earlier in the season. Ormskirk were on a good run losing only one of their last five games and that was against second place Burnley. Their match last week had been postponed so although match fitness might have been an issue there should have been no injury worries for them to contend with.
Tarleton picked a strong squad for this game and for the first 15 minutes of the game both sides were putting pressure on the defences with Ormskirk looking the more dangerous of the two sides.
Tarleton opened the scoring from a quick heel from the scrum and quick ball along the line to Ben Walton on the wing who made good ground before slipping an inside pass to jack Skofic who skipped passed the Ormskirk defender to score a good try, Frasier Grieves secured the two points for the conversion and Tarleton led 7-0.
Ormskirk came straight back at Tarleton from the re-start and played some good phased rugby which should have resulted in a score but their ball carrier ran into his own man before going over so Tarleton were awarded a scrum for accidental offside.
Tarleton still found themselves under tremendous pressure in their own 22 and after 8 or 9 phases of play Ormskirk were awarded a penalty in front of the posts as Tarleton had strayed offside, the points were taken and the score now stood at 7-3.
Tarleton then mounted a wave of attacks and Ormskirk defended well but they too gave away a penalty in front of the posts and Tarleton took the points to go to 10-3.
Tarleton then mounted another promising attack but a penalty was awarded against them in the Ormskirk 22 and one of the Tarleton players was sin-binned and another had to leave the field with a suspected broken ankle.
A re-shuffle took place and Tarleton still managed to press up to the half time whistle and had a try attempt held up as well.
The first minutes of the second half saw Tarleton still with a man in the bin and Ormskirk took full advantage and moved the ball well. A penalty was kicked to the corner and Ormskirk had a line-out on the Tarleton 5mtr line; the ball was thrown long and the extra forward that Ormskirk had made the difference as they mauled the ball forward and crashed over the line to score a good try. The conversion was missed but Ormskirk were now only behind by 2 points and their tails were up.
As Tarleton picked up the pace of the game they started to camp in the Ormskirk 22 and a promising chance was turned over by Ormskirk in the loose and a long kick sent the ball up field. The ball was gathered by Will Fell who brilliantly ran the ball back almost to the line but an excellent tap tackle sent him sprawling despairingly short of the line. However, the ball was quickly re-cycled and after a couple of phases the ball was passed to the on-rushing Will Parker Jnr. who went over to score.
Tarleton applied further pressure and as a gap opened George Skofic tore through it and through two attempted tackles to run in from 30 yards to score, Aidan Miller converted and Tarleton were 22-8 ahead with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Tarleton were looking for the bonus point try but Ormskirk despite starting to tire were the side that looked more likely to score and after another Tarleton player was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on Tarleton were happy to see the match end with no further score.
This was a hard game for |Tarleton and one of the few this season were they haven’t picked up a bonus point so with Burnley winning and gaining a bonus point the First XV still head the table but they now only have a 5 point lead.