Despite dominance in the set piece Tarleton couldn't capitalise
TARLETON SECONDS travelled to Ormskirk for a cup match on Saturday.
Having beaten them in the league in two close encounters Tarleton were in confident mood when they took to the pitch.
Tarleton started reasonably well and from the first scrum it was obvious that they had the better of the Ormskirk pack in the set piece and following a scrum against the head Tarleton attacked the Ormskirk line. They were stopped illegally by the Ormskirk number 9 and a penalty was awarded which Lee Booth converted off the upright to give Tarleton a 3-0 lead.
Ormskirk, playing with the wind, opted to kick from another scrum going backwards and this put Aiden Miller under pressure at full-back as it seemed that the two Ormskirk flankers were everywhere and they won a penalty as he was pinged for holding on in the tackle.
The penalty was pulled just right of the posts and Tarleton maintained the lead.
However, it was now becoming apparent that Ormskirk were by far the more active at the breakdown and they started to play some good forwards play with rolling mauls that made good ground and put Tarleton on the back foot.
It was from a rolling maul that Ormskirk went over for their first try and with a good conversion they took a 7-3 lead.
Tarleton came back immediately and using the same rolling maul tactic were only stopped when the maul was brought down and from the ensuing penalty Lee Booth reduced the Ormskirk lead to 7-6.
Ormskirk were playing expansive rugby and using all 15 players on the pitch and they started to drag the Tarleton defence around and on 28 minutes were awarded a penalty for a tackler not rolling away and they increased their lead to 10-6.
Again it was the Ormskirk flankers who caused all the trouble and notably the number 6 who was breaking through Tarleton would be tacklers for fun and from a mazy run that saw him make 35 yards and pass a well-timed ball out of the tackle that saw Ormskirk score their second try. This was well converted from out wide and Ormskirk went in 17-6 ahead.
Tarleton had been guilty of kicking too much ball away and the talk at half time was that now they were playing into a strong wind that the kicking had to stop and that they looked far more of a threat with the ball in hand.
When the second half started for some reason the kicking continued and Tarleton's wingers spent 40 minutes running up and down the lines without getting a sniff of the ball.
Ten minutes in Nick Wetherall cut in from the wing to claim the ball and made a good run that was stopped by a questionable tackle (Mike Foreman did question this and was sin-binned for his trouble) but again at the breakdown it was Ormskirk that always came up with the ball.
Tarleton at last decided to start using the full back line and from a good scrum the ball was spun wide to Sam Tyrer who tore down the wing evading two Ormskirk defenders to score in the corner.
The score was now 17-11 and at this point Tarleton lost another advantage when Ormskirk lost their prop to injury and the scrums had to go to uncontested as they didn’t have a replacement.
This gave Ormskirk a solid scrum platform for the first time in the game and with their dominance in open play it made Tarleton's job harder.
There was no further score in the game and Ormskirk ran out winners of another close contest between these two local rivals.
Tarleton's play was a bit naive in this game and they have to realise that their league position has been created by playing 15 man rugby and when they play with ball in hand they are a constant threat to any opposition.
Ormskirk deserved this victory, they played with a game plan and stuck to it, their commitment in open play was fantastic with bodies all over the place claiming the many loose balls that were available.
Their team was slightly different from that faced in the league and it was two or three of these players that helped create the Ormskirk victory on the day.
Tarleton wish them well in the next round and return to league action against Fylde next Saturday.
Tarleton Firsts had a free Saturday and they face Aldwinians away next Saturday and a win there will leap frog them over them in the league.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Gordon.