It was indeed a great game of rugby.
87th time lucky – Longest losing streak in the history of Rugby Union comes to an end.
Saturday March 24th 2012 will go down in the history books at Manchester Rugby Club. The Cheshire based rugby union side have finally laid to rest the ‘record breaking’ ghost of eighty seven consecutive league losses spanning just more than three years with a hard fought victory over Old Northamptonians 25-17. The overflowing of emotion at the final whistle was incredible as over 300 supporters celebrated the heroic performance of the players who have put an end to this unwelcome record!
The fear on the touchline was that the pressure for a win would be too much. That the lads would try to force it rather than be let it happen as it has promised in the past few weeks.
The magnitude of this occasion overrides the need for a blow by blow account of the game. Manchester stretched into an early 6 point lead with two penalties from full back Matthew Raybould, but many other scoring chances created by outstanding stand-off Max Proctor went begging.
A period of intense pressure from the visitors resulted in a forward's try, converted, with 10 minutes to go to to half time. In past games heads would have gone down but not this time. A passage of well controlled possession gave Blake Mahovic an opening in the middle which he did not waste. Half time 13 -7.
One might imagine the visitors half time talk. Who wants to be be the first team to.....? The visitors opened with a penalty in the first few minutes. Again the home team remained composed and regained the ascendancy with two penalties and a drop goal from the boot of from Richard McCartney, who came on at half-time. The visitors never tired and after some concerted forward pressure pulled the score back to 22 – 17 with 4 minutes on the clock. Manchester remained calm. They had lost from a similar position a few weeks earlier. Not this time. With 'last play' called McCartney sealed it with a drop goal. 25 -17. The roar from the crowd could have been heard in Stockport!
Pete Clarke, Chair of Rugby at Manchester said “Phew, thank goodness that’s over! I am immensely proud of what Getty Schinkel, our new coach who joined us in January, has been able to achieve with such a dedicated and committed group of players – at the end of the game it felt like there was both a combined collective sigh of relief and explosion of emotion at the same time – amazing, I am sure the partying will go on for a few days!”
The team that secured this long sought victory included several players who have come through the ranks at the club; Manchester University student Sam Davies, 20, who has played for the first team consistently over the last few years making his 50th appearance today, Charlie Ding 17, scrum half making his fifth appearance, playing a full part as he graduates from senior colts to the adult game, together with Gareth Bridgman 17, making his first start, and Tom Fantom 18, captain of MRFC's very successful Senior Colts team, making a telling contribution off the bench.
James Flynn and Sam James, other Senior Colts, have been selected to play for England at U18/19.
The resurgence in Manchester's fortunes is also indicated by this day being the first time for several seasons that they have fielded three adult mens teams.
Manchester currently play in National League 3 Midlands. The last league win was on March 14th 2009, a 35-17 victory against Newbury, when Manchester were in National League One.
1. James Warrington
2. Scott Briggs
3. James Watson
4. Sam Davis
5. Steve Kent (c)
6. Jack Rigby
7. Ralph Cartwright
8. Mark McConnel
9. Charlie Ding
10. Max Proctor
11. Gareth Bridgeman
12. Tom Rooney
13. Blake Mahovic
14. Doug Day
15. Matthew Raybould
16. Rich McCartney
17. John Bowden
18. Tom Fantom
Manchester 25 - 17 Old Northamptonians
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That played with us upon this day.
Sorry to steal Swanny's thunder of Sam James also breaking through to an U18 England call-up to join our James Flynn, but he is also one to watch in the jets.
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 25/03/2012 14:25 by H's D.