All Blacks claim victory in opening home encounter

From left, Tom Davies (Janitorial UK), Adam Padgett (Colne and Nelson captain) and John Hargreaves (coach)
From left, Tom Davies (Janitorial UK), Adam Padgett (Colne and Nelson captain) and John Hargreaves (coach)

Colne and Nelson’s opening home game of the season ended in a narrow win over Leigh RUFC.

With scrums bound to be aplenty on the greasy surface, Colne were hit before the kickoff as Leigh opted for uncontested scrums.

With the contested scrums a platform of Colne’s, the coaches shuffled things around to give them a more dynamic option around the field.

The game kicked-off with the forwards making big runs, with Brad Collins and Lewis Hesketh breaking the gain line on numerous occasions. Backed up by Gary Kenyon andZack Bullock, Colne looked to hit Leigh through the centre with the strong running Connor Kinnane.

With the first half pretty much even, Leigh looked to break the deadlock first. A loose ball that should have been cleaned up by Colne, was hacked through by the Leigh centre. It was a foot race between the Leigh winger and the covering Matt Tindall.

Luckily for Colne, the referee deemed Tindall to have grounded the ball and gave Colne the 22 drop out.

On another day, the penalty count would have been significantly higher for the opposition, but the referee opted for the scrums instead, which made life hard work for Colne to get on the front foot.

The drift defence from Leigh thwarted much of Colne’s attack. It wasn’t until Colne had a period of possession in the Leigh half that the deadlock was broken.

A scrum on Leigh’s five metre line after the ball was deemed held up, saw Ernest Tino get chance to go up against his opposition winger. Hargreaves picked up from the base of the scrum, fed Tino on the wing, and he muscled his way over, conversion missed by Tindall.

The second half had a similar feel to the first. Leigh made good use of the uncontested scrums, and on another day, Colne could have conceded a couple more tries, but the final pass from Leigh just wouldn’t stick.

The possession and territory from the visitors did eventually pay off, as they numbered up against a napping Colne defence to level the scoring on 50 minutes.

The score from the visitors seemed to spur them on, but as Colne weathered the storm, a few stray passes gifted Colne possession. One such error from Leigh proved costly, as the ball landed in the calm and composed hands of Finucane. A burst of pace put Colne on the front foot and a wizard of a pass put Gane through a gap, and he rounded the defender to dot the ball down over the whitewash, conversion good,

The final few minutes of the match were all Leigh, and slick hands from a quick penalty tap allowed the visitors to finish the match with an uncovered try.

Tomorrow, Colne travel to Southport while the seconds entertain Garstang.

l Colne unveiled the first of three new sponsors ahead of the game. Their new shirts have been sponsored by Tom Davies of Janitorial UK, who said: “We are very proud to be the first team sponsor for the 2018/19 season. I was personally introduced to the club 12 years ago, when I was just 11,.

“Having been involved in multiple teams and some basic level coaching I have seen first-hand what a great club this is and how it has helped young people, including myself, develop into adults. I am very grateful for the support I have received from the players, coaches and members over years and saw this as the perfect opportunity to show our support in return.

“Good luck for the season and we look forward to working with Colne and Nelson more in the near future!”