NW Premier Match Report: Orrell St. James' v Thatto Heath
By Mike Horrocks
NOTHING TO LOSE
Orrell gave a good account of themselves in this top-of-the-table clash, despite early setbacks and went down to league leaders Thatto. Starting the match with only 15 players due to holidays and illnesses they lost centre Alex Porter, who was taken to hospital with a suspected leg fracture, early in the first half. (Fortunately this was later confirmed as severe bruising) St James's opened the scoring after 5 mins when, from a set play, Danny Pyke combined with Jack Mc Hugh and Alex Porter to put Kyle Topping in at the corner. Brad Roby hit a magnificent conversion and OSJ held Thatto at bay with a resolute defence until the 35th min. when prop forward Anthony Bate (on Swinton RLFC books) powered over to give centre Sean Quinn an easy conversion. Score at half time 6 -6
Unfortunately, early in the second half Orrell had a major setback as top try scorer Jack Mc Hugh suffered concussion after being blatantly punched on the floor by Anthony Bate. Mc Hugh was unable to play any further part in the game, Bate was sin-binned for 10 mins. and returned to add power to the big Thatto pack. Ben Flower was banned for 6 months for something similar.
Despite heroic defence St James's were outstretched as The St Helens outfit enjoyed overwhelming possession and scrum half Tom Rigby scored, Quinn converted and Thatto took the lead at 6 - 12. Quinn scored a further penalty goal in the closing minutes and the visitors consolidated their lead at the top of the league. Final score 6-14
This was a backs-to -the-wall performance by a young Orrell side bereft of substitutes and they can hold their heads high as they pleased their supporters with a gutsy performance
Dennis Mc Hugh