Rugby League: Mayfield 24 - 12 Waterhead
Date published: 25 May 2021
Try scorer Andy Taylor put in the the hard yards
Mayfield started the season with a home win on Saturday 22 May, taking the spoils against a spirited Waterhead side at the Mayfield Sports Centre.
This certainly wasn't a game for the purists but it was a game of rugby league and the first at which supporters were permitted to attend. Plenty of fans turned up to watch two young sides slug it out for the points.
Both sides made early mistakes and put themselves under pressure in their own half with lost possession and penalties. Mayfield were unlucky not to get on the score sheet first as Chris Hough put Ieaun Higgs through the gap and the speedy fullback was just caught ten yards short of the try line.
Mayfield put a massive amount of pressure on the Waterhead line but their defence held solid, denying the home side a breakthrough. With twenty minutes gone the visitors had only got out of their half once with Mayfield's defence lead by Nick Hargreaves and Si Moore snuffing out any attempt at attack from their opponents. The same pair were also strong as they tried again and again to get that all important first score.
It was the 39th minute when Mayfield got some points on the board - Corey Newsham flew onto a great long ball and squeezed in at the corner, Cole Connolly added the two with a superb touchline conversion. 6 - 0.
Waterhead hit straight back and almost levelled the scores before half time, only a brilliant defensive effort from first Cameron Connolly and then Hargreaves kept them out. The 6 - 0 scoreline reflected the nature of the game with the defence on top for both sides. Mayfield deserve credit for keeping Waterhead out for so long after giving them so much possession.
The second half was a little better as Mayfield attempted to to 'stick to the plan'. You cannot be successful at this level of rugby without having a game plan and more importantly sticking to it.
Waterhead began applying pressure to the Mayfield line and again the blue line held firm. Jackson Kelly, Liam Donnelly and Jack Rush were rock solid and the side built from this and worked forward.
Two great tries from Donnelly and the impressive Andy Taylor both converted by Cole Connolly should have sealed the game but a mid half dip allowed Waterhead back in it and gave them a much needed lift.
At 18 - 6 they felt they were still in with a shot at this game but a nifty kick through from Connolly was fumbled over the line and the hooker pounced to effectively take the game, 24 - 6.
Waterhead did not give up though and came back to cut the deficit with another converted try 24 - 12.
All in all it was a very scrappy game riddled with errors but as coach Steve Wood said: "A win's a win; we'll take the points, thank you."
There were some good individual performances again this week, with youngsters Jordan Parr, Corey Newsham and Jackson Kelly settling in and beginning to show glimpses of what they are capable of. Liam Donnelly and Jack Rush also impressed but it was once more the vastly experienced Si Moore who was named Man of the Match by the sponsors and coaches.
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