Heaton Moor 25-19 West Park
Moor entertained West Park at Green Lane last Saturday eager to extricate themselves from the basement of the ADM Lancashire Premier League, but by the interval it did not appear that this would happen.
Early exchanges had certainly suggested that Moor had the upper hand in the battle of the forwards, but the visitor’s backs always looked dangerous when they had the ball in hand.
It was the home side who opened the scoring early on when, following a lineout just short of the Park line, they set up a rolling maul and bulldozed their way over, allowing number eight Andy Tetlow to claim the opening try, the attempted conversion by scrum-half Ben Haspell just drifting wide.
As has happened so often this season, Moor immediately allowed their opponents to strike from the restart, when poor defence following the kick-off allowed Park to score a try between the uprights, making the conversion a formality.
Moor were straight back however, as their forwards again applied pressure and were unfortunate not to score on a couple of occasions when driving mauls were held up over the Park line.
Moor continued to dominate the forward set pieces, forcing the opposition into conceding a number of penalties and from one of these, they again took the lead with a successful goal from Haspell.
In the final 10 minutes of the half, Park began to edge the game, with their back line making several inroads into the home side’s defence and eventually they were rewarded with a well-taken unconverted try in the corner.
To add to Moor’s woes, they allowed Park to break out on the stroke of half-time, and following some ineffectual tackling, the visitors scored a third try, this time converted, to give them a lead of 19-8 at the break.
From the restart, Moor appeared to redouble their efforts and coupled with a much tighter defence in their three-quarter line, kept Park contained within the latter’s own territory for most of the second period and ended up preventing the visitors from adding to their score.
Early pressure by the home side kept the opposition pinned down and only their own mistakes prevented them from adding to their account in the opening minutes.
Eventually, they did score and again it was courtesy of their forwards who, from a lineout on the Park 22, set up a rolling maul all the way to the try line where winger Elliot Mepham, now switched to scrum-half, peeled off down the blind side to crash over for a try, converted by Haspell.
Moor’s tails were now up and they continued to take the game to the opposition, forcing them to concede even more penalties. From one of these that had then been kicked to touch, a maul was set up from the subsequent lineout, and when the ball was released to Tetlow, standing off from the drive, he charged through the cover to touch down.
With Haspell adding the conversion, Moor retook the lead for the third time in the game and he further added to the scoreline with a penalty kick, after Park were penalised yet again for an infringement.
Moor play away at Liverpool St Helens the weekend in their final league game of 2019.