Southport under-13s 24 Waterloo under-13s 19: Waterloo just beaten in thrilling encounter

WATERLOO Rugby Club’s under-13s were beaten 24-19 by Southport in a thrilling encounter at Waterloo Road on Sunday morning.

The friendly match proved to be anything but, with both sides fighting for local pride in this fixture where it was decided they would play three periods each consisting of 15 minutes.

It was Southport, playing in black, who got off to an electrifying start and scored a try in the opening two minutes. Rhys Journeaux carried the ball for 30-yards before sliding under the posts.

Southport kicker Adam Welford duly converted to give his side a dream start leading 7-0.

Shortly later, Journeaux was at it again. His driving runs couldn’t be stopped by the Waterloo defence and it capped a wonderful phase of play as he crossed the line again to stretch Southport’s lead.

On this occasion, though, Welford’s kick wasn’t on target and Southport settled for a 12-0 lead.

Waterloo were described by coach Wayne Coleman as notoriously slow starters, but had firm belief the deficit could be reduced.

Unfortunately, for Waterloo they were hit by an injury when Joseph Barry pulled up with a strained hamstring. He was replaced by Luke Wilson-Jones.

Southport looked to stretch their lead at the end of the first period and a jinking run by Jake Meleady-Hughes was thwarted by a superb last ditch tackle from Carl Guest. It was a fabulous start for Southport as the first period drew to a close.

The response from Waterloo at the beginning of the second period was supreme. A powerful run from Jake Gore saw him glide effortlessly past two tackles and sprint home to score a fantastic try. The conversion was sent wide by centre Wilson-Jones, but his side were back in the match at 12-5.

Waterloo continued to add pressure but Southport broke ruthlessly and made their opponents pay. Harry O’Brian made a clean take, scrambling over the line to touch down and restore Southport dominance as the score became 17-5, with the conversion was missed.

Waterloo were dealt yet more bad luck as James Powell was forced off with a wrist injury whilst trying to prevent O’Brian’s try.

The second period ended with Southport in a commanding position leading by 12 points.

They showed no signs of slowing down and early in the final period Meleady-Hughes capped off a magnificent solo-run by scoring under the posts before Welford kicked expertly to make it 24-5.

Waterloo would have been forgiven for losing concentration and thinking the game was over; however, that is not in this side’s make-up.

They continued to press Southport back and move the ball with ease and fluency when in possession. Harry Woods charged forward for Waterloo before finding Joe Hodkinson who crossed the line to make it 24-10.

Wilson-Jones landed a supreme conversion to reduce their arrears further to 24-12.

Woods continued to impress in the dying stages as he caused mayhem for Southport defenders. He slid in for a try with less than two minutes remaining. Wilson-Jones kicked home again to make it 24-19 and give his side a glimmer of hope. But Southport hung on to their lead for the remainder of the final period as their dominance in the early stages proved vital.

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