Fleetwood 13 Bolton 35: Match report

Jack Crompton
Jack Crompton

The green and golds have slipped to fourth in the North Lancs/Cumbria League following back-to-back defeats and were given a lesson in scrummaging by Bolton.

Fleetwood went straight on to the attack but they made too many errors in midfield.

A penalty for crossing enabled the visitors to take the lead. Fleetwood continued to create opportunities but mistakes in open play, forced by a resolute Bolton defence, kep the scoreless.

Bolton doubled their lead with a penalty for offside but Fleet soon got on the scoreboard with a penalty of their own. It was awarded for not releasing and the breakdown and Scott Richardson’s goal halved the deficit to 6-3.

However, the Fleetwood scrum was starting to creak in the absence of tight-head prop Scott Dobbie, sidelined with food poisoning.

They had the chance to regain the initiative when Bolton had a player sinbinned for tripping after Rob Brookfield took a quick tap-penalty.

But the hosts could not turn pressure into points and Bolton came back strongly with half-time approaching.

After back-to-back penalties, Bolton’s next scrum resulted in a pushover try, which was converted for a 13-3 half-time lead.

The visitors were dominant in the forwards after the restart, building a platform their backs to run freely and score another try, assisted by some poor tackling.

Fleetwood struggled to make inroads, though Mike Kelly carried strongly, and had to settle for a second Richardson penalty to cut the gap to 18-6 10 minutes into the second half. Bolton did land another penalty goal for indiscipline at the breakdown.

Bolton chose to run their next penalty and their pacy full-back sprinted between the posts, the conversion stretching their lead to 28-6.

The green and golds came back strongly as Jack Crompton and Ali Cheal ran well.

Replacement Andy Holme thought he’d scored but instead Fleet were awarded a penalty try after a maul collapsed. Harrison Lumb also came on for his last appearance before heading off to sea.

The Bolton scrum continued to dominate and always looked like forcing a penalty. Crompton made a heroic try-saving tackle but injured himself in the process, and from the ensuing scrum the visitors scored another pushover try to secure the bonus point which left them just one point behind Fleetwood in fifth.

Karl Bowling worked hard in defence and James Lilley’s tireless work in the pack earned him coach Steve Woodburn’s man of the match award, but Fleet have fallen to earth after their excellent start to the season.

A much-improved performance will be needed in Salford on Saturday against De La Salle, who have replaced them at the top.

IAN CAMERON