Onwards and Upwards…
A much changed team travelled to an in-form Blackburn who continued their good run, putting an end to Manchester’s winning sequence.
An early drop goal by the hosts got the scoreboard moving (3-0) but the threatening attacks came to nothing until the quarter hour mark when a scrum was opted for from a penalty award, well driven over and converted to 10-0. The first quarter ended with a second try when Blackburn’s strong running No 8 was not stopped despite plenty of hapless attention to make it 15-0.
Manchester had a real chance to get back in the game when a burst from Doug Day almost saw him all the way to the line. As the ball was recycled, a second chance opened up but the referee spotted some crossing and the resulting penalty allowed Blackburn to escape. A 14-point swing happened within minutes when the home side were able to score again. When the ball was stripped from Manchester in a tackle, there was no one at home to stop the change of direction. On 30 minutes, rather than the game potentially being at 15-7, Blackburn were out of sight at 22-0!
A chance to extend that healthy lead was taken when an easy penalty was slotted to make it 25-0 at the break.
Manchester came out determined to get something from the game and tackled hard. By now the scrum was creaking however and a defensive scrum went backwards at a rate of knots as the Blackburn pack put the squeeze on. With the defence in disarray, some twisting and turning near the line forced the ball over for a bonus try and a 32-0 lead with half an hour still to play.
Manchester responded however and a fine try was scored down the left wing as Louis Galley used his impressive pace to squeeze over in the corner to get the cherry & whites on the scoreboard at 32-5.
With the result effectively settled along with as many bonus points as were likely already awarded, the match began to break up with gaps appearing everywhere and on both sides. Blackburn were the side to benefit when they escaped their own 22 along the right wing, creating a two-on-one with Manchester’s last line of defence. At 37-5 the game really was up but a converted try, again starting from possession deep in their own half, brought the scoring and a disappointing afternoon to an end with Blackburn comfortable 44-5 winners.