Rugby league: Mayfield 22 - 6 Thatto Heath
Date published: 21 September 2023
Photo: Aidy Gleeson Snr
Luke Fowden scored the first try of the match
Mayfield put 98 points past Thatto in their two league matchess so many expected a walk in the park at the Mayfield Sports Centre in this first round play off eliminator on Tuesday 19 September.
Thatto showed they had other ideas as they started strongly and were the first on the score sheet. Mayfield failed to deal with an innocuous looking kick and Thatto gratefully accepted what was a gift try under the sticks, 0 - 6.
They almost went further ahead as their huge number 13 crashed through the defence, but Wayne English and Dave Mills put a stop to that with a shuddering tackle. This was the wake up call Sam Butterworth's boys needed, they got their act together and started moving the ball around, no easy feat in the wet conditions.
Aidy Gleeson and Travis Long took the lead with Jordan Parr in support. Sean Penkywicz came into the play and he combined with Dev Long to create the space for Luke Fowden to go through to get Mayfields first points their new electronic scoreboard, parr converted, 6 - 6.
Mayfield were playing rugby now and could have gone further ahead but English and then Dakota Tolhurst were both stopped short. The home side were then put under pressure as Joe Taira was shown the yellow card and Thatto smelled blood. Absolutely top class defence from both teams who made sure there were no further tries in the first half.
Thatto were happy at half time to still be in this game whereas, Butterworth and Steve Wood made it clear they wanted more from their team. They knew they had it in them to win this game. Having come through being down to twelve with no breaches Mayfield now started to look like their old selves, and when Sam Wright got the ball he showed his class, avoiding three defenders he then put in a neat kick for Travis Long to touch down and give his side the lead for the first time, 10 - 6.
Taira was in top form now drawing three defenders every time he got the ball, gaps were appearing in the visitors line and Jake Ramsden was doing his best to put his forwards through them. Butterworth reintroduced Penkywicz to the fray and he calmly jogged onto the field, got to acting half, picked up the ball and scooted in for a try, simple but brilliant, Parr converted, 16 - 6.
Thatto never looked like getting back in the game but they were never truly out of it either. With ten minutes to go, the game was sealed after a Dev Long kick was fumbled by the full back, James McDaid pounced and cleverly shipped the ball to his brother, Kristian McVeigh who ghosted in for the score, Parr again converted, 22 - 6.
This rounded off the scoring and Mayfield are through to the next round. Butterworth was pleased with the performance against a resolute Thatto side and in poor conditions. He was also aware of the part the crowd played saying: "To have a crowd like that on a night like that to come and watch us was fantastic and is testament to our supporters, they were brilliant and I want them to know how much I, the team and the club appreciate them. I would also like to acknowledge the part the club and the committee played in putting the game on after being forced to play midweek instead of Saturday. Thanks for all your hard work."
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