All Blacks go joint-second after gritty performance

Action from Saturdays win over Preston Grasshoppers 4ths Pictures courtesy of Louise Bullock

A gritty performance saw the All Blacks go joint-second in the Halbro North West Leagues Division 3 North table after a 27-13 victory over Preston Grasshoppers’ fourth team at Holt House.

Typical East Lancashire weather saw a gentle breeze and light rain greet the visitors.

Action from Saturdays win over Preston Grasshoppers 4ths Pictures courtesy of Louise Bullock

A strong start by Colne saw them almost score in the first two minutes, but Preston were awarded a penalty just short of the try line.

The 15th minute then saw Preston score a try which was duly converted.

This seemed to kick start Colne back into action, and some strong work by the forwards in the 25th minute saw them gain territory in the Preston half, which allowed Nick Bullock to force his way over the line, though the kick wasn’t converted, leaving the score 7 to 5 in Preston’s favour.

Five minutes later, further strong pressure by Colne saw Anthony Minshall crash his way over the Preston try line in the far corner.

Again the kick was not converted, due in no small part to the wind wafting over the playing field.

A further five minutes’ play saw Colne win the ball at the lineout in the Preston 22.

A strong running maul saw Colne keep possession of the ball, and this allowed Dean Edwards to power his way over the line.

Again the kick was not converted and that left the score at half-time at Colne 15, Preston 7.

Some poor discipline in the first 10 minutes of the second half saw Colne give away two penalties, both of which were converted by Preston, taking the score to 15-13.

The score remained the same for the next 20 minutes, with both sides finding it difficult to keep hold of the ball in worsening conditions.

Credit must go to the Colne defence in this period, as they fought off some good attacks by Preston and allowed the All Blacks to maintain their slim lead.

In the 70th minute, some strong work by the Colne forwards saw them make good progress up the field, and some quick hands saw Kyle Hargreaves drop over the white line to increase the Colne tally to 20 points, with the kick not converted.

Two minutes later, a superb solo run from the halfway line saw the deceptively fast Connor Kinnane breeze past a bewildered Preston defence, and drop the pill directly under the sticks.

There was no mistake with the conversion this time, with Jordan Cardwell slotting the ball neatly between the posts, leaving the score 27 points to 13.

This is how the game ended, and credit to both sides for a thoroughly entertaining, hard-fought and fairly played match in some quite awful conditions.

This was another tough display from an ever -mproving Colne side, with some great individual contributions, but more importantly, a solid and united team effort from everybody involved in the game.

The win extended Colne’s impressive start to the season, leaving them third in the table, and level with second place Chorley on 18 points, two behind leaders Tyldesley 2nds.

Tomorrow, the first team travel to face Crosby St Mary’s 1sts, kick-off 3 p.m., while the second XV are at home to Preston Grasshoppers 5ths, also at 3 p.m.

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