Jan 23 2014 by Our Correspondent, Ormskirk Advertiser
ORMSKIRK travelled to the Wirral to take on bottom-placed Wallasey looking to maintain their unbeaten start to 2014.
Although missing a couple of key players, Kirk recorded a comfortable 10-try win over the plucky hosts whose performance belied their league position at times during the game that wasn't as totally one-sided as the scoreline suggests.
It took Kirk seven minutes to open the scoring when some good phase play allowed centre Andy Healey a sniff of the try line and he finished powerfully in the corner.
Once the deadlock had been broken and Ormskirk's confidence grew, they added four tries in the next 12 minutes, two good individual efforts from free-scoring left wing Joe Hodson were followed by two neat finishes from right wing Jack Whisker, the first after a fine break from full-back Alex Lambie. Captain Gaz Prytherch converted two of these tries and Kirk led 29-0 after 19 minutes.
The home side then enjoyed a good spell of possession and Kirk had to dig deep to stop the pressure they were exerting with their pick and drive tactics, veteran forwards Phil Davis and the outstanding Glyn Roberts were constantly at the heart of the defensive effort as numerous Wallasey attacks were thwarted.
The final try of the half came through outside centre Ben McCarthy who showed a clean pair of heels to the home side's defence after being released by returning fly-half Andy Croft.
Wallasey got on the scoreboard themselves with a late first half penalty after Kirk's defence was adjudged to be offside in midfield, 34-3 at half-time.
Ormskirk started the second half on the front foot and it only took them two minutes to get the next try as young prop Brad Drysdale blasted onto Prytherch's cut-out pass to score from close range, Lambie added the extras.
The remainder of the game was played mostly in Wallasey's territory with the strong running of Jonny Gorst combined with the breakdown skills of Roberts and Craig Ennis ensuring Kirk a steady stream of possession.
The men in green's next try was Drysdale's second of the afternoon as his surging run left two defenders in his wake before touching down with Prytherch adding the conversion.
Ormskirk's ninth try came after back-row Aidan Charlton's show-and-go allowed him to break from 40 yards out before drawing the full-back and offloading to the supporting McCarthy to score his second try of the match, Prytherch again converted. The game finished with Joe Hodson capping another fine display of elusive running by completing his second consecutive hat-trick, rounding his man and sprinting to the corner to notch his 19th try of the season.
This victory lifts Ormskirk into third in the league and puts them right back in the hunt for promotion, only two points behind second placed Liverpool Collegiate.
This Saturday they face the tough task of travelling to mid-table Port Sunlight who have proved to be a tough side to beat at their home pitch this season.
l West Park Under-10s were Ormskirk’s first opponents of 2014 after the postponement at Sefton last week.
A strong squad of 12 had assembled on what was a mild morning in St Helens.
The Greens started extremely brightly, with excellent line speed and defensive discipline. Everything learnt in training had not been forgotten. Captain for the day Nathan was again a key communicator and powerful in attack and defence.
This strong defensive platform was the basis of some equally good counter attacking rugby; with two excellent tries from Ollie seeing the visitors in Green take an early and deserved lead.
West Park scored a great team try to peg back Ormskirk, in Will’s desperate and courageous attempts to prevent the score he was left dazed.
At this point debutant Ted was introduced and immediately made an impact; breaking free of two or three tackles and making great strides forward, Ted offloaded in the move of the game to free up Ollie who scored his third try of the day.
Scrums were non-competitive which unfortunately didn't give the Under 10's an opportunity to try out their new front row of Ollie, Will and Dan against some powerful Park forwards. Tremendous attacking prowess throughout the first half kept their opponents on the backfoot though, allowing for a half-time lead of 3-1.
Will returned to the fray in the second half and continued his efforts in defence, both he and Jason should now be feared by all they come up against in the tackle; with their robust technique proving they Will stop anyone or anything dead in their tracks.
The second half saw Ormskirk begin to lose their shape and concentration levels began to dip.
This allowed West Park back into the game and unfortunately having lost the lead the Greens were unable to regain it.
Josh, Ben and Jason who were all involved in early breakdowns to create the earlier tries once again contributed to Ormskirk’s final points of the day as they created space for Ollie’s fourth try.
Jack, Ryan, Ethan and Chris were tenacious in and around the breakdown area with Jack now becoming more effective in the ruck and the scrum; Ryan showed glimpses of increased confidence and carried the ball with great affect.
The performance today was by far the best this season.