Birkenhead Park claim the bragging rights in local derby.
Firwood Waterloo made the short journey over the Mersey, losing 31 – 21 in another tightly fought contest.
The visitors started the match much the brighter of the two sides showing a willingness to run the ball on a benign autumn afternoon. The boys spent most of the first 25 minutes camped in Park’s half and were rewarded with the first score, a penalty scored by Daragh O’Brien.
After Park levelled, the Irishman set off on a dazzling run of some 50 metres from deep in his own half. This enabled the forwards to find space and release would-be centre, Captain Jack Weare to score, O’Brien himself adding the extras.
As the game progressed the Park forwards gained in dominance to give a platform for the backs to equalise before half time with a well-worked try. Half time 10 – 10.
At the restart the visitors renewed their intent to play a running game, taking the lead with a try in the corner from Jonny Roberts. When in possession of the ball the Firwood Waterloo backs posed real threats to the home defence, notably through the determined efforts of Sean Colebourne who found gaps in midfield. ‘Loo’s score brought a quick response from Birkenhead Park who took the lead for the first time in the game with a converted try.
As a nod to the running of his team mates in the backs, an audacious sidestep from tighthead Kurt Riley moved play deeper into Park’s half, the home side eventually conceding a penalty for ‘Loo to take a one point lead.
From then on, the home side took control at a crucial stage of the game collecting their restart kick to score an excellent try through their well-organised forwards. Their bonus point try also came from sustained forwards’ pressure in the visitor’s 22.
Coach Stuart Turner, whilst disappointed with the result commented, “We played so well for 60 minutes but we know what Park are good at – getting field position and keeping the ball. “ He added, “We missed a few opportunities to score in the first half with some good breaks, but there is more to come from this side.” In reflecting on progress of his squad since the start of the season Turner said “We have done well given that we have played strong teams away, but we will have home advantage when they visit us.”
Next week Firwood Waterloo play at home against Burnage, kick off 3pm as the exciting finale to a Family Day. RugbyFest begins at 9:15 with England V France and is followed by ‘Loo’s under 10s playing Southport under 10s at noon.