A HAT TRICK from Jesse Fay and a brace of tries from dual-code Pakistani international Saqib Murtza ensured that Mancunians’ unbeaten run in 2016 continues with a 40:24 win over Fitton Hill Bulldogs of Oldham, writes Jarryd Hayne.
Murtza, who has recently joined Mancunians as Player Manager, rocked the Bulldogs defence with well-timed tackles but must have played himself into contention for automatic selection for the British Asian Rugby Association White Ribbon Challenge against Italy in a few weeks time, with two well-taken tries at a crucial part of the game. His tries nosed Mancunians further in front once Jesse Fay broke the deadlock and the Bulldogs’ hopes.
The game started with Fitton Hill scoring because of early mistakes made by Mancunians, but Manchester hit back with a try from Tom Fuller but missed Luke Turner missed the conversion.
Mancunians almost scored immediately from the restart but the referee judged that the crucial pass was forward.
Unforced errors allowed the Bulldogs to move further in front but Mancunians struck back through Ben Skelton and Luke Turner converted to keep Manchester’s Rugby League team in the game.
The game was in danger of being over when the Bulldogs scored again, but Aussie import Jesse Fay put matters in his own hands and scored before half-time for a 18-16 half-time score, halting Oldham’s momentum.
The Bulldogs were first to score in the second half, thanks to a defensive error on Mancunians’ line to edge them further in front but were it not for Mancunians’ offensive errors then Manchester would have been in front earlier.
But Jesse Fay took command and dragged Mancunians back into contention and the self-belief of being unbteaten this year saw Manchester group together and grab the lead for the first time with 14 minutes to go.
Tries followed from Murtza converted by Turner sealing a convincing 40:24 win over a team two divisions above Mancunians.
“That was a massive effort from the boys beating a team 2 divisions above us and I am very pleased for them”. Said Coach Lucas Onyango.
“I said a couple of weeks ago that the performance against Aspull when we were down to 12 men through injury was nothing short of heroic but their display today was right up there with that.” Said the former Super League player.
“We’d worked on our support play this week in anticipation of it being a tight game and the hard work that the players have put in paid off handsomely”. Said Onyango.
“Worryingly we had an injury to one of our key players Alex Myers who hurt his elbow towards the end of the first half and didn’t play a part in the second half, but we are still unbeaten this season. However we have a few things to work on this week during training to make sure we stay unbeaten. Onwards and upwards.” He said.