Gaz Prytherch being presented with the new shirts by Graham Bowling of Fitton Estates
Dukinfield 1stXV 15 - 15 Ormskirk 1stXV
Ormskirk produced their worst performance of the season to only come away from Dukinfield with two league points after failing to convert possession and territory into points that left the scores level at 15 all. 'Kirk could point to the many players who were unavailable for the match as an excuse but the truth is they simply weren't good enough on the day to win the game. 'Kirk started brightly, opening the scoring in the second minute, after winning a scrum on halfway, CentreAndy Healey showed great strength and skill to stay on his feet in the tackle and offload to Luke Parker whose pace did the rest as he raced home to score in the corner, 0-5.
Straight back came Dukinfield who piled the pressure on 'Kirk's defence through the pick and drive play. The pressure paid off immediately as they scored in the corner after Ormskirk's fringe defence capitulated, for the first, and unfortunately not the last time in the game. From the restart Ormskirk got back on the front foot and after getting some quick ball, the ball went through the hands until it again found full-back Parker who finished clinically for the second time, Alex Lambie converted to put Ormskirk 12-5 up after 10 minutes.
The remainder of the half was a scrappy affair, punctuated with a succession of penalties and frustration shown by the visitors as they struggled to cope with the referee's interpretation of the laws at the breakdown. Dukinfield kept 'Kirk pinned in their own half and after another try similar to the first after some pick and drive play they added another on the stroke of half-time as the ball somehow stuck in their second row's hands as he charged down a loose fly-hack. 15-12 to the home side at the interval.
The second half was spent almost entirely in the Dukinfield half but a combination of poor decision making and continued frustration meant barely any clear-cut chances were created by Ormskirk. What they did get was a series of kick-able penalties but the usually reliable Lambie had not brought his kicking boots, only converting one out of six chances. 'Kirk thought they had won the game late on when Jonny Gorst caught a loose Dukinfield line-out throw to crash over the line and touch down. However, the referee decided that the correct course of action would be to offer Ormskirk a choice of a scrum or line-out for the crooked throw rather than playing advantage and allowing a perfectly good try to stand. His sheepish apology didn't really soften the blow but you win some, you lose (or draw) some. Fair play to Dukinfield, they stuck to their game plan and defended the line solidly throughout the second half.
Ormskirk simply have to improve on this dour performance that lacked commitment and accountability for their actions if they are to keep up the pressure at the top of the table. Next up is newly promoted Port Sunlight at home on Saturday.