Mon 22 Apr 2019 07:17

Euphoria tinged with relief was probably the mixed emotions on the terraces and later in the club house after their favourites had not only avoided relegation but despatched Manchester 12-40 in no uncertain fashion.

This was without doubt one of the most important games for a number of seasons for both clubs with relegation the ultimate destination for the losing side.

"We had a feeling that this campaign was always going to go 'down to the wire' but to be in a 'death or glory' final match was going to test our resolve to the full," declared head coach Stuart Turner."  This has been one of the toughest campaigns I have been involved in and for a long spell with just three points separating six clubs, all of whom could have gone down, fighting it out there has been no let up whatsoever."

However it was the home side who made the better start with a try out wide but with the Firwood Waterloo pack taking some control Josh Critchley was forced over from a catch and drive.  Darragh O'Brien added the conversion to give the Merseysiders the lead and with back row Alex Tenev breaking through, O'Brien also tagging on the extras Firwood Waterloo took a 5-14 lead in at the interval.

In the second period a poor clearance by Manchester was scooped up and run back, the counter-attack creating the opportunity for Sean Colbourne to cross for the third and with the pack 'turning the screw' Luke Clifford saw the gap to nip over for the fourth and the bonus point, O'Brien on target with both conversions.

Manchester came back with a converted try but in an effort to get back into the game started to give the ball some 'air', testing the Firwood Waterloo defence.  The defence held strong and from turn over ball Tom Lavelle crossed for the fifth converted by O'Brien with Clifford rounding off a satisfactory afternoon's work with a sixth and his second again off turn over ball.

"Obviously we are delighted with the result and that we will be playing in this league again next term but full credit must go the whole squad who when it mattered came up with the right result," Turner emphasised. "We know we are a good side but we need to be much more consistent as there were games this season that we could and perhaps should have won. However the whole squad has been on a massive learning curve and I am sure we will come out the stronger next season."

Firwood Waterloo will now take a break before returning for pre-season training the first week in July.


Geoff Lightfoot


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