1st XV 14 Liverpool College 34
AKS started well with strong running from Tom Lanigan and Charles Laycock allowing the backs to attack wide through Oliver Mills. Initial momentum was however lost as Liverpool College kicked well out of their own half and against the run of play drew first blood slotting a penalty to lead 0-3. AKS regrouped and were soon back in the game following excellent work by the forwards. Some neat inter-passing and offloads created a well worked try from flanker Matt Cartmell to touchdown. Andrew Walkden converted for the home side to take a deserved 7-3 lead.
The Liverpool backline attacked well with a series strong runs through the centres and scored midway through the half to pull themselves back in to the lead, 7-8. However, just before the break some strong running from Matthew McLaughlin and Elliott Fackey allowed Harry Kenworthy to snipe through to put the 1st XV back in the driving seat with a well taken try. As Walkden added a second conversion, AKS went into half time 14-8 ahead. In the second half, although AKS had good territorial advantage, it was Liverpool College who took their chances well. On three occasions, as AKS attacked the opposing 22, poor passing and indecision allowed the visitors to race clear to dominate the scoreboard. Four second half unanswered tries made the final score 14-34.
Despite the disruption of uncontested scrums from the onset, the pack worked hard at the breakdown, with sterling efforts from Matthew Patterson, Matthew Cartmell and William Thompson, the team as a whole underperformed, and allowed a leading position at the interval to slip away.
Man of the Match must go to Matthew McLaughlin whose work rate and tenacity was commendable.
U15A 15 Liverpool College 12
With injuries and illnesses aplenty, a much changed AKS U15A side from the one that won in the Lancashire Cup versus Hutton on Thursday travelled to play a Liverpool College side which featured six U16s. So there was little doubt that this would be a competitive and hard match.
With nearly 30 boys training after school on Tuesday, the strength of the squad would be tested. Sam Proctor was making his first start at 10 and there was a new centre pairing of Tom Riley and Sam Royle. Joe Haydar made his first start on the wing and Ka Po Tsang also started in the unfamiliar role of wing, whilst a very poorly Charlie Kenyon somehow managed to start at full back. However, despite these changes, AKS led after just four minutes after some good team play saw Matthew Worsip crash over from a few yards to give AKS a 5-0 lead.
The next 20 minutes were then very even as both sides threatened to score but the final try scoring pass was missing. With three minutes left in the half, another flowing AKS move saw the away side reach fifth phase and on the end of a short pass was Bill Gavin, and he was never going to be stopped from a yard out. It was 10-0 to AKS at half-time.
The second half started well for AKS and they looked to dominate possession but fantastic Liverpool defence kept them out and then one loose pass changed the flow of the game completely. An AKS attack, which looked like it might bring some points, saw Liverpool intercept and 10-0 had become 10-7. A bad lineout then saw Liverpool score just 7 minutes later and Liverpool were now dominating in both territory and possession. They led 12-10 with just 8 minutes remaining.
However, a brief team talk from Mr Evans seemed to have the desired affect, and just 60 seconds after the talk AKS produced their best passage of play in the half and Sam Royle dived over in the corner to give AKS a 15-12 lead, which they held onto for the remaining minutes. This was the fifth victory by the U15A in seven matches, in what has been a very busy first four weeks at AKS.
U14A 19 Liverpool College 56
The U14 game started at a furious pace, with a strong Liverpool College side taking an early advantage and running in four tries. AKS were determined not to let the game run away and a combination of brave tackling and stronger rucking slowed down the Liverpool College side. Everything started to click for AKS as the half-time whistle approached. The ball was worked up the field into the opposition's twenty two and eventually Ed Farrer crashed over the line for AKS's first points of the game.
The middle of the second half was by far and away the best section of the game for AKS with two excellent tries - the first from a penalty seven metres from Liverpool's goal line which was beautifully finished by Declan Browell, and the second scored by Sam Ingham-Gore after driving Liverpool's defence back fifteen metres. In the final analysis AKS were well beaten by a better team but there were some very positive passages of play.
U13A 23 Liverpool College 5
On a perfect day for free flowing rugby the ever improving AKS U13A rugby side travelled to Liverpool College with the intention to build on last week's great performance. The AKS side started slowly and allowed Liverpool College the opportunity to run with the ball and occasionally break the defensive line. Oscar Gavin playing at full back saved AKS on several occasions with some fantastic tackling.
Every time AKS got the ball they looked dangerous. The forward power from Sam Kyle-Clay, Joshua Moreau and Robert Mill ensured the backs had a great platform to attack the Liverpool College line. The second half started well for the AKS side, with some powerful running from the centre combination of Charlie Cadley and Ben Holmes, and they linked up well with Charlie Shaw and Tom Wyatt on the wings. It was only a matter of time before AKS took hold of the game and turned possession into points. Joe Duncan crashed over the line from close range with the help from Xander Douglas and Oliver Wilkinson-Grey. Ben Holmes doubled the score moments later with a well worked try.
Vice Captain Ryan Evans played well and always looked dangerous, especially in and around the breakdown. He linked up well with Frasier Stanier for him to finish off well and score the third try for AKS. The afternoon got even better when fly half Oscar O’Neil sneaked into the corner to score a fine individual try. Overall this was a very good performance from the AKS side. Many thanks to all the parents who travelled to Liverpool College to watch their sons represent AKS. Final Score 23-5.
U12A 17 Liverpool College 5
On a beautiful day for rugby Liverpool College arrived at Lytham to find the conditions under foot very wet which is a rarity for this sand based surface. From the off the home side showed their intentions against a big Liverpool outfit. At the kick-off the tackles were made aggressively which meant the away side were pinned in their own half. Phase after phase ensued with AKS winning superb loose ball from some fierce rucking. Recycling again and again, the backs, lead well by skipper Alex Clayton, handled the ball quickly across the line with the back 3, Jake Brown, Max Older and Max Buckingham, making inroads into the Liverpool 22.
When the ball was eventually knocked-on the resulting scrum gave the away side little respite. Liverpool were put under huge pressure from a strong AKS counter drive and, as a result, struggled to make any yardage gains from any ball they won. It was no no-ones surprise that the home side opened the scoring when, from more excellent rucking by the forwards and good handling from the backs, Clayton supporting well on the outside, took a pass from Ben Gould and, showing a fine turn of pace, went outside the last man and determinedly beat the cover to dive into the corner. His attempt at the extras only fell slightly short and reflected some hard practice which had obviously been put in during the week.
Whilst under the posts, the Liverpool coach had a chance to talk to his side and make some changes and, it became apparent at the next scrum, that he had moved some of the larger backs, who he had thought might dominate behind against their smaller opponents, into the forwards to try and counteract the dominant AKS 8.
From scrums deep in their own territory, the home side were put under some intense pressure, as the Liverpool back row attacked down the narrow side; however some fierce tackling, particularly from Clayton, Brown, Sam Hackett, and Haythornthwaite saw the attack forced into touch. From the resulting lineout more pressure from the AKS defensive line saw the Liverpool centres panic enabling AKS Number 8 Hackett to intercept a weak pass. From 10m outside his own try line he showed great speed and stamina to outpace the covering defence and score the second try of the game.
This try seemed to dent the away side’s confidence, as they had appeared to be getting on top with some aggressive play up front, but the dogged defence of the home side did just not wanted to be breached. The try also worked in favour of the home side as they realised, if they stuck to their guns in the loose and defensively, then victory would certainly be theirs. H.T. 10 – 0.
With Mr Rudd’s words ringing in their ears the Lytham pack set about destroying their opponents in the second half. The training carried out in Friday’s games session was obviously paying dividends, as Liverpool were struggling to recycle any good loose ball at all. Even when they set it up well the strong leg drive of the counter ruck by AKS saw the ball being turned over to their side. This, coupled with the work at the scrum, saw Jason Gallagher in true scrum half fashion, telling his 8 that he expected to see them drive their opponents “off this ball so that I can have it”.
This is what happened, even when changes were made in both the second and back rows of the AKS side. Liverpool were constantly being frustrated when they found themselves in good areas of the pitch by the domination of the AKS pack and, as a result, they started to doubt whether they would ever breach the AKS line. For a major part of the first period of the second half AKS defended their line and the dogged defence continued. When the away side won clean ball they did distribute well, but fine tackling by the back line, and covering work by the Flankers and number 8, saw the would-be attackers put to floor.
Unfortunately the home side were struggling at times to re-form their defensive line after several phases of defence and it was this which saw the AKS line breached. With half of the second period still left to play the result was still up for grabs. AKS however upped the anti again especially with the driving play. Harvey Moore made great yards with some bullocking runs as did his front row partners of Reuben Skelly and Reece Chadwick. This put AKS back in their opponents 22. With more quick loose ball, Gallagher sent the ball on the narrow side to his half back partner Clayton, who again showed super pace to squeeze in at the corner. Clayton also managed to add the extras with a fine kick from wide out which made the game safe. FT 17 – 5.
The superb Welsh side of the 70’s built their success around the legendary Pontypool Front Row. These three men from Gwent set about destroying the other nations of the rugby world through their fierce scrummaging. In Saturday’s game the AKS trio of Harvey Moore, Reuben Skelly and Reece Chadwick did the same to a pack from Merseyside who had some huge individuals in it. Putting their opponents on the back foot from this set piece set the tone for the rest of the game and, as a result, AKS won a fine and hardy fought victory in this exciting match.
At times during this game the battle up front was quite “tasty” but the AKS 8 never took a backwards step and, as a result of this, their larger opponents were driven into submission. Our play at the ruck was aggressive and powerful and this, alongside the scrum, won us the game. Defensively we were strong and, although we will have to work on the organisation over the next few training sessions, the work rate was outstanding. As the side were told at the end of the match this was a fine victory as it was won, not just through good play, but also through the tough and determined attitude of the whole side not to be bullied in the contact area. If this standard can be attained week in week out then this side will be very difficult to play against.