New Mancunians RL coach Mark Brennon was pleased that his team had put in a good effort in his first game in charge, despite going down 18-28 against Chester Gladiators on Saturday;
“The performance was an improvement from previous weeks and we had opportunities to win the game.”
“I thought we were a little unlucky in parts with a few decisions and with the bounce of the ball going our way we could have won.”
Brennon was keen to point out that this is just the start for a squad that holds much promise;
“We’ve got potential. We had three debutants at the weekend and six or so of the players have only been playing Rugby League for a few weeks, so we have plenty to build on over the season.”
This was a game that was never going to be easy, and that was underlined mere moments after the kickoff bounced out of play, winning Chester a drop out. Two consecutive sets on the line soon turned into a try for the Gladiators; Mancunians behind before ever getting a sniff of possession.
It wasn’t long before the home team launched their retaliation. Pouncing on a Chester mistake in their own 40 immediately after the restart, the Mancs ramped up the pressure with a hard and fast set of six; Jake Dunning going in at the corner to level matters at the first time of asking.
Both sides participated an intense first forty minutes, with the Mancunian defence putting in some powerful hits. However the next score from the Gladiators was an almost exact replica of their opener, again coming from a repeat set on the home line; the Chester hooker selling the defence a dummy before darting over.
A great break from Tom Ireland soon saw the home team with their second realistic chance of the game which quickly turned into a repeat set on the line. Despite turning over deep in the Chester half, it was a good kick from 60 meters out and an extremely fortunate bounce of the ball that saw the Gladiators take a 16-4 lead just before half time.
The second half began like a mirror image of the first. This time the visitors making a mistake from the kick off to hand possession to their opponents, and being dully punished. Sam Marshall finishing off a well worked play through the hands of the Mancs.
A similarly patient ploy worked again moments later as Kingsley Child scored in the corner to reduce the gap to just four points; windy conditions at Hough End Stadium causing havoc with any conversion attempt that wasn’t directly in front of the sticks.
As the game wore on, it was inevitable that the earlier intensity couldn’t be matched as both sides began to tire, Chester’s scrum half dancing through a gap in the defence to extend the lead.
The Gladiators soon scored again after being awarded a controversial scrum – the referee claiming the home player had knocked on; the Mancs claiming their man had been the victim of a head high tackle.
Mancunians had the last word in the game though, after being awarded a penalty for offside, David Keane powered over despite the best efforts of the defence to add some respectability to the final score.
The Mancunians will be hoping to take this positive performance and go one better at next Saturday’s home match against Hindley A. Kick off 14:30 at Hough End Stadium.
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