Southport RUFC 10 – 75 Huddersfield Laund Hill
On a glorious day on the west coast, Laund Hill made their longest trip of the season
so far for their first game in the Papa John’s National Shield.
With not a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind, conditions were ideal for free flowing
rugby. And the visitors delivered this comprehensively in their finest performance of
In the opening minutes, both teams started off a little bit edgy as they tried to get a
foothold on the game but it only took until the 8th minute for Hill to gain the upper-
A turn-over from the ruck presented good ball and quick hands down the line found
powerful centre Liam Haines who evaded 2 tacklers and raced away for his first try
of the afternoon. Tom Egan added the extras – the first of his 10 conversions.
Captain Ed Black was dominant all afternoon at the kick-off and he claimed the
restart. Good passage of phases set up more good ball for the backs and full-back
Gaz Evans made a clean break through the defensive line. A fine ‘out of the back’
offload found supporting players and eventually the ball made its way to Corby
Nasaqa to round off the move.
Just 10 minutes into the game and Laund Hill were 14-0 up.
The pressure didn’t stop there. From the kick-off a fine box kick found a good
bounce and second-row Tom Dalton raced onto the ball to gain ground. Quick
recycling found the home team’s defence out of sorts and quick ball to Haines saw
him run in for his second try in just 12 minutes.
Things only got worse for Southport as Black claimed another kick-off and from the
resulting ruck, Egan made a dart down the blind-side before feeding winger Will
Burns-Smith to run in unopposed.
28-0 up in the first 15 minutes is not a position the team have found themselves in
for a long time, so the challenge now was to make sure that they didn’t take the foot
off the gas.
In the next passage of play, Laund Hill built the phases and found themselves in the
opposition half, forcing a penalty. Electing not to go for goal, the ball was put into
touch just metres from the Southport line. From the resulting line-out, possession
was secured and hooker Ben Hill worked his way over for a try. This time, the
conversion was unsuccessful in Egan’s only miss of the day.
However, it didn’t take long for him to make amends as just a few minutes later he
saw a weakness in the blind-side defence and sprinted down-field. Tom Bulloch was
in close support and he rounded off the move in style.
The home team were now understandably getting frustrated and gave away two
penalties in quick succession. A quick tap penalty worked its way to Haines who
burst through the defensive line to round off his hat-trick in just 29 minutes.
Admirably though, the home team didn’t give up and for the first time in the game
managed to retain possession for a good period of play. Disappointingly for Laund
Hill though, they gave away a penalty at a scrum and then back-chat saw them
marched back another 10 metres. Poor defence on the try line saw Southport get
over for a try and with it a faint glimmer of hope.
As the half drew to a close, Laund Hill looked to have scored another try but
unfortunately the referee adjudged a knock-on over the line and with that blew his
whistle for half-time.
At half-time, centre Haines was replaced by Archie Roberts to nurse a slight injury
and the half got off to a slow start.
However, a huge tackle by flanker Will Perfitt sparked the team into life. From the
spilled ball, prop Sam Burt collected possession 40 metres out and sprinted down-
field. Time seemed to stand still and the try line seemed to get further away and Burt
was stopped just short of the line. However, he managed to produce a fine off-load
to find Black in support for the first try of the half. Following his efforts Burt had to be
replaced with Ashley Lockwood to add fresh legs into the team.
The visitors now settled back into the back and exerted pressure in both attack and
Southport were forced to clear their lines and found Roberts who made a clear
break. He found Finbar Drennan in support who in turn passed to Bulloch for a fine
Now comfortably in the lead, the Hill were able to throw the ball around with
confidence. However, this produces risks and when a ball went astray into touch,
Southport took a quick line-out and with the visitors not ready they strolled in for their
second (and final) try of the day.
With the game now heading into the final stages, the strength of the forwards really
started to make in-roads into the Southport defence. Ben Hill took in three
consecutive drives forcing the home team onto the back-foot. Nasaqa took the ball
forward before finding Perfitt for a well-worked forwards try.
From the kick-off, Nasaqa made another break downfield. This time he was able to
feed speedster Burns-Smith who drew the final man before finding Egan to score yet
And that proved to be the final try of the day as winger Lewis Vernon controversially
had a try disallowed as he scorched 60 metres down the wing to beat the defence.
Unfortunately, the referee listened to the home team bench claiming that he was in
touch and ruled out the score, blowing the final whistle on a huge 75-10 win.
Historians will be looking back through the records for the last time such a victory
was recorded, but the team themselves will only be looking towards next week as
they push on in the cup. All eyes will be on the draw for the quarter finals on
Monday, with fingers crossed for a well-earned home draw.
Reporter: Dale Earnshaw