ORMSKIRK travelled to Wallasey trying to fulfil a fixture that had been postponed on two occasions due to inclement weather conditions.
Ormskirk made no fewer than eight enforced changes due to unavailability and injuries to key personnel and with those changes, it was going to be a tough ask against Wallasey who have found a resurgence in good form.
As has been the problem this year on a number of occasions, 'Kirk started slowly which allowed Wallasey to gain an early ascendency in proceedings. It was this slow start that allowed Wallasey to make ground and it wasn't long before Wallasey had scored two quick tries, most notably through a driving maul which ‘Kirk failed to deal with.
Ormskirk slowly started to come into the game and it wasn't long before the green and blue machine started to take the fight back to Wallasey.
Long time Ormskirk servant Andy Healey was immense in the midfield, on three occasions he executed trademark dump tackles which had the crowd jeering.
‘Kirk started to play good passages and with the line out functioning well it allowed fly-half Alex Lambie to distribute clean quick ball to the his back line.
Again, find of the season Joe Hodson was having another strong game. The nippy winger made numerous forays into enemy territory and what impressed spectators on the sidelines most was the youngster’s kick-chase game, where on numerous occasions Hodson cleanly ripped the ball from his opposite number when airborne.
With sustained pressure Wallasey's defence started to creak with the outstanding number six Martin Rothwell acting as the link, and young scrum-half Chris Bartolo the distributor, and it wasn’t long before the ball reached winger Luke Parker. Parker jinked his way past his opposite number and touched down in the corner.
Kirk were pressing for more points and Lambie coolly slotted a penalty for offside soon after to leave the game wide open at 13-8 at half-time.
'Kirk started the second half where they had left off and a tiring Wallasey pack couldn’t contain the introduction of prop Ryan Purcell and his powerful charges. Even though Purcell was not 100% fit his introduction was a stroke of genius. Purcell made numerous carries which on occasion took nearly four Wallasey defenders to halt.
It was against the run of play however that Wallasey’s number 10 slotted another penalty to edge the home team in front.
'Kirk continued to take it to Wallasey and had it not been for a freak bounce of the ball, they would have been in the game right up to the last minute.
After a good period of sustained pressure, with centre McCarthy making a good break in the midfield, Rothwell was on hand again to recycle the ball as well as taking the ball into the next phase close to the opposition try line. With Rothwell halted close to the white wash, Wallasey managed to clear their lines. ‘Kirk were convinced that the ball had gone out into touch, but the touch judge didn't signal the ball as being out. As a result the Wallasey number 13 went in unopposed to score under the posts.
Spurred on by this apparent injustice, 'Kirk took the game back to Wallasey.
With the back row combatants of veteran and two-time player of the year Glyn Roberts and Martin Rothwell yet again to the fore and with Purcell gaining valuable yardage in the midfield, it was left to Hodson to cap a fine display with a well worked try in the corner to make it 23-13 after 72 minutes.
With the clock running down 'Kirk couldn’t muster another score and the sigh of relief could be heard from the Wallasey hordes as the referee brought the encounter to an end.
'Kirk must now regroup and prepare for Saturday’s must win game at Green Lane where they entertain arch rivals Southport who are now just one place below them in South Lancashire & Cheshire Division Two.