Storm clouds gathering over Blundellsands over the past few days might have been an omen but Firwood Waterloo answered any of their erstwhile critics in the best possible way with a bonus point 37-6 win over Anselmians.
"It was a mixture of satisfaction and relief," confessed head coach Stuart Turner after the game. "We have been low on confidence in recent weeks and certainly in the first half we did look tentative but we knew we had the beating of the opposition and a few words of encouragement at half time appeared to have done the trick."
Firwood Waterloo came into this game in 12th place in the North One West table and, although they remain in the danger zone, with only six points separating them from 6th place Stockport the battle not to join Anselmians and De La Salle is now really on.
"We know we have a job on our hands as it is very tight in that part of the league but we have some crucial fixtures coming up which if we play with the same commitment as we did in the second half today we know we can win." Turner stated.
In a tight first half following, an exchange of penalties, Darragh O'Brien for Firwood Waterloo, the sides' were tied at 6-6 before good pressure by the Firwood Waterloo pack and with the ball spun wide Lee Ferrier was on hand to go over for the opening try to afford the home side an 11-6 lead at the interval.
The second half proved a much different story as Firwood Waterloo began to discover opportunities in the Anselmians defence. A break by Joe Bradford and a neat off load got Ferrier over for his second with a break from Connor Scrivens opening up the gap for O'Brien to scamper over for a second, the scrum half also adding the conversion.
With a 23-6 lead Firwood Waterloo looked far more comfortable in the game. Forward pressure and some forceful pick and go play got Josh Jenkins over for the bonus score, again O'Brien adding the extras.
In the closing stages Jack Weare managed to draw in the opposition defence before firing out a superb long pass for Jacob Allen who cut inside some would be defenders to cross for the fifth, O'Brien on hand to slot the conversion.
"It was a good win and we played some good rugby in the second half," Turner stated. However equally pleasing for me was that we kept our line intact with some well marshalled defence."
"We have a crucial game away at Warrington who are just two points above us this coming Saturday," Turner explained. "It is a game we really need to go out and win but after today's performance we can go there with confidence restored."