Longton took on league leaders, Wolverhampton, and went down by 33pts. to 17, conceding two late tries after the game up to that point had been a very evenly contested affair.
The visitors benefitted from an official who awarded over 20 penalties against the home side whilst not punishing the away side for a number of clear and similar infringements. The penalty count ensured that Wolverhampton were able to dominate territory and possession for large parts of the game. That said the first score came after only one minute. From a scrum 10m. from the home line Wolverhampton moved the ball quickly right to score wide out. The conversion missed but the visitors were 5-0pts. ahead.
Gareth Rawlings was harshly yellow carded when trying to move a Wolverhampton player who was preventing Longton from winning a ruck ball. What clearly should have been a penalty to Longton led to a yellow card against them. However, Longton were coming more into the game as their lineout and scrum were solid and they finally had a spell where they avoided the wrath of the official.
With 22mins. gone Pete Wilshaw carried the ball strongly before it was released to the backs. Scrum half,Nicolas Gomtard, sent a perfectly timed pass to fly half, Sam Bedworth, who spotted a gap and sprinted home for a fine try. He then put over the conversion to put Longton ahead by 7-5pts.
Wolverhampton continued to be awarded numerous penalties, disrupting the flow of the game, but they missed an attempt on goal on 38mins. Three minutes later though they landed a penalty from 23m. to lead at half-time by 8-7pts.
The second half began in the same manner as the first with the visitors benefitting from many penalty awards. With 5mins. gone they landed a penalty from 35m. and wide out to lead by 11-7pts. However, 6mins. later Longton went in front again. They attacked down the right flank then switched to the left. The visitors’ defence held firm until the Longton pack executed a series of strong drives to the corner before plunging over. The conversion was short but it was 12-11pts. to the hosts.
Wolverhampton missed a penalty before landing a superb kick from 35m. and wide out to lead again by 14-12pts. Halfway through the second period the Longton defence lost concentration to allow the tall Wolverhampton number 4 to run through for a try under the posts. The successful conversion stretched the lead to 21-12pts.
Five minutes later Longton were right back in the game. Sam Bedworth put a penalty kick to within 5m. of the away try line. After a clean lineout catch the pack drove over in the corner for a fine try. The difficult conversion fell just short but the gap was now only 4 points at 21-17pts.
As the last 10mins. approached Wolverhampton moved the ball wide right at pace to go over in the corner. The conversion missed but at 26-17pts. the visitors now looked to have secured victory but they were not quite finished with their scoring. From a scrum 35m. out the ball was passed to the right wing at pace and he sped over for a superb try. The conversion was good to make the final score 33-17pts. with one of the last acts of the game being a yellow card for a Wolverhampton forward.
The extremely high penalty count clearly swayed the outcome of the game in favour of the visitors which otherwise would have been a very close affair but Longton must take great credit for a battling display.
Next week Longton are at home again, this time to Moseley Oak when they will hope to be back on the winning trail,