Blackpool Stanley u15 16 Bamber Bridge u15 22

Date 17/05/2015
League Under 15s League 2015

Stanley were up against the Bulldogs this Sunday, who much like their canine name sakes were mostly a muscular, tough looking breed. But the Stanley Pack has grown in recent weeks and there were 15 guard dogs on alert, each ready to defend their territory.

The first half began with both sides chasing the ball, fetching, carrying, turning-over. And for 10 minutes the sides looked perfectly matched until the Bulldogs broke through to put the ball down for a try and then one more. Their tails weren’t wagging for long though, as they failed to convert both and Stanley’s quick-witted Rottweiler, Danny Stretton stormed through to steal his first try of the day.

Stand-out defensive work came from the Labrador-like like Dean Harding, Cameron Bullen and Jordan Hindley, each powerfully built, ever-reliable and full of enthusiasm. It looked like a second try was coming when Matty Webster took off like a Whippet, covering two thirds of the pitch before being hounded into touch. In the end the Bulldogs managed finish the first half a nose in front.

The second half began much like the first, but after another Bulldogs try it looked like Stanley were up against it. In light of increasing pressure, the Stanley Mastiffs, Sean Craven, Matt Stelfox and Connor Willis, were put to work. Each one of them, well-built, proud and willing to defend their space. Spaniels, Olly Tribe and Harry Kenyon were working hard seeking out Game and Greyhound Harry Trask was chasing down the opposition like they were startled hares.

But despite the Border Collies, the amenable and intelligent Ben Hindley, George and James Guy employing their best herding instincts, Stanley couldn’t quite make their mark on the Bulldog’s territory.  But then a lucky break let Danny Stretton put down his second of the day. This was duly converted by Phil Hardy-Dearness, who was still standing in for the usual Stanley kicker, Nathan Winter. At last the Stanley tails were up high!

The game finished with a huge crescendo in the closing minutes. The ball made its way to the determined terrier that is Phil Hardy-Dearness, who dived at a gap in the Bulldogs defence and scored. After converting his try and with just 90 seconds of play left, Stanley were just two points behind. Kicking short, in the closing seconds the Bulldogs managed to send their biggest beast crunching through to crush Stanley’s hope of a win. They say every dog has its day and Stanley’s may well be in the reverse fixture!

Final score: Stanley 16 – Bulldogs 22

Tries: Danny Stretton (2), Phil Hardy-Dearness (1)

Conversions: Phil Hardy-Dearness (2)