Glossop edge to victory at Bolton
Monday 25th March 2019 @ 14:41 by Mark Phillip

Lancashire/Cheshire Division One

Bolton 18-21 Glossop

The Hillmen travelled to Bolton on Saturday and were greeted with superb weather conditions, complimented by a perfect playing surface, a fantastic opportunity to play some fast flowing and expansive rugby.

However, it soon became clear that this highly anticipated match between fourth and third in the league would be decided by a tough battle up front, between two strong forward packs. 

Earlier in the season Bolton had held Glossop to a 20-20 draw at Hargate Hill, and clearly fancied their chances on home soil. 

The home team came out of the blocks fast, and were in possession almost immediately when Glossop failed to deal with the kick off. 

Several minutes of strong Bolton attacking play was met with hearty Glossop defence, until an offside decision against Glossop saw Bolton kick for goal and take an early 3-0 lead. 

From the restart, Glossop were able to build some attacking phases of their own and test the Bolton defence. The Hillmen used their forwards to good effect, and the pressure told when prop Joe Dearnaley exploited a gap at nd the back of the ruck and made a charge for the line. The scrambling home defence were able to halt his progress, but the ball was moved to the supporting Jonny Tennant who crashed over the line to give Glossop the lead. Tom Dearnaley added the conversion to give Glossop a 3-7 lead.

The game followed a similar pattern of momentum swinging back and forth, but strong defence from both teams meant that there were few clear scoring chances. 

On eighteen minutes, Dearnaley was on target with a penalty to stretch the Glossop lead to 3-10. On twenty two minutes Bolton responded with a penalty of their own, 6-10. 

Following this, Bolton then carried play deep into Glossop territory, and the visiting defence thought they had done enough to stop the Bolton attack when a pass was thrown into the floor. However, this wrong footed the onrushing defence and the  Bolton full back and captain Pritchard was able to gather the loose ball and dart through to score under the posts. The successful  conversion made it 13-10.

In the last few minutes before half time, Glossop hammered away in the Bolton ‘22. The Hillmen were dominant in the scrum, and from a strong scrum the Bolton back line strayed offside to give Glossop a penalty. With advantage being played, Tom Dearnaley kicked cross field where full back Matt Sonczak was on hand to catch the ball and score in the corner to restore the lead for the visitors. This brought an end to the half with Glossop holding a slender but deserved 13-15 lead. 

The second half brought more of the same, with strong defence being the order of the day and attacking chances kept to a minimum. This said, the large crowd were still treated to two well matched sides in a great physical battle, with the commitment levels from both teams clear to see. 

On fifty six minutes Dearnaley landed another penalty to stretch Glossop’s lead to 13-18, and ten minutes later another Dearnaley penalty meant that Bolton would now need two scores to retake the lead. 

The visitors were able to keep Bolton at bay until the very last minute, when from a 5 metre scrum they attacked the blind side and scurried over to salvage a losing bonus point. 

Final score 18-21, and Glossop remain third in Lancs / Cheshire division 1 and continue to pressurise the top two in their hunt for a promotion spot. 

Director of Rugby John Openshaw said afterwards “ This was a great win away from home against a dogged Bolton side.

“With being so dominant in the scrum it was hard to swallow when the decisions did not go our way, but a great win in a tough fought out fixture. 

“This really puts preasure now on the top two.”

 Next week Glossop welcome Sefton to Hargate Hill, ko 3pm. 

By Josh Edwards