South Lancs/Cheshire League
Buxton 1st XV 52
Helsby 1st XV 0
Buxton secured a resounding win over Helsby in a scrappy but nonetheless dominant performance.
Buxton looked a little shaky from the kick-off and indecisive at times, with early nerves clearly showing. They soon began to exert themselves upon the opposition.
The front row of Chapman, Sheepy and Meir showed their strength from the first scrum by providing a firm platform from which the back line could strike, deep into Helsby territory through the centre partnership of Lofthouse and Bartram.
The first try from Robinson came after sustained pressure from the Buxton pack. The ball was shipped wide via a well-rehearsed miss-pass move from Davies out to the wing to the safe hands of Robinson, who tore up the pitch, side-stepped his opposite winger and scored under the posts. Waters converted.
Ten minutes later, Robinson’s second came in similar style from a pass out wide from Edge, leading to a touchdown in the corner.
The Buxton forwards continued to exert pressure at the set-piece, easily winning their own scrums and driving the opposition off their own ball against the head. The line-outs were also running like clockwork with Edge securing safe ball in the middle and Kirton-Darling disrupting well at the front. The back row of Scott, Hodgson and Edge, together with the support of Storer, mauled and counter-rucked superbly.
Helsby were clearly tiring towards half time and, from the back of a ruck, Campbell popped the ball to Scott who set off on a rampant run up the pitch, breaking through three tackles to score a fine try.
The second half started well. From the back of a scrum, Hodgson picked up, popped the ball to Campbell who scampered under the posts.
Robinson completed his hat-trick when the ball was shipped wide by some precision passing along the entire backline. He was unleashed and with his trademark hand-off, left Helsby floundering in his wake to again score.
Despite being reduced to 14 men when Scott was sin-binned, Buxton refused to let Helsby into the game, and with superb tacking from Degroot and Lofthouse kept the pressure on. Fine positional kicking from both fly half Davies and fullback Waters, together with the introduction of Lomas and Morris, ensured Buxton kept play in the Helsby half.
In the dying minutes, from a defensive line-out just outside the Helsby 22, Kirton-Darling rose like a salmon, stole the ball cleanly, passed down to Campbell off the top, who in turn supplied the Welsh wizard Davies, who jinked and jived through the Helsby defence to score.
Buxton: Chapman, Sheepy, Meir, Storer, Kirton-Darling, Edge (PL), Scott, Hodgson, Campbell, Davies, Robinson, Lofthouse, Bartram (C), DeGroot, Waters, Morris, Lomas, Barber (WG/CL).