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Glossop shock leaders as march for promotion continues
Monday 11th March 2019 @ 11:31 by Mark Phillip

Lancashire/Cheshire Division 1.

Glossop 23-0 Altrincham Kersal

As Glossop continue to push for a potential promotion spot, league leaders Altrincham Kersal’s visit to Hargate Hill on Saturday was billed as the game of the season, and the Hillmen did not disappoint in what was a bruising and bloody encounter.

With ‘AK’ having only lost once this season, Glossop were well aware of the task at hand, and their impressive defensive display was the highlight of the performance, keeping their Cheshire opponents score at “nil” for the first time since October 2017.

In testing conditions of driving rain and blustery wind, Glossop started brightly and kept Altrincham on the back foot early on. Man of the Match Jake Gibson opened the scoring on 12 minutes, beating numerous defenders on his way to the line. Tom Dearnaley converted, 7-0.

Kersal were efficient in the line out and driving maul, not surprisingly given this season they have acquired the services of Sale Sharks forward Cameron Neild as Head coach. However, Glossop were dominant in the scrum, with tight head prop Ben Chadwick leading from the front as always. It was from such a scrum that Glossop would register their second score, when from a penalty ten metres out they took the scrum option and got a shunt on the visiting pack.  This allowed No.8 Stanley to pick up and power his way over for another try, his nineteenth of the season, which again Dearnaley converted. 

Dearnaley then extended the Glossop lead to 17-0 with a brilliantly landed penalty against a strong wind. 

In the final five minutes of the first half, AK rallied and forced Glossop into a period of hearty defensive work. Two penalties followed, and Kersal refused the kick at goal both times, instead opting for a line out close to the Glossop line. Glossop repelled them once but on the second penalty, the visitors looked on course to drive over the line, only for Sam Wilkinson to brilliantly steal the ball and relive the pressure. 

Despite scoring no tries in the second half, The Hillmen executed a well controlled forty minutes of rugby, playing through their phases well and keeping Kersal at bay defensively. Two long penalties from Dearnaley took Glossop into a convincing 23-0 lead, and with time running out, Altrincham launched a sustained attack on the Glossop line. With the game all but won, the Glossop team showed a real desire to keep the league leaders to nil, and after five minutes of lung busting defensive efforts, they were able to turn the ball over and celebrate a memorable victory. Final Score: Glossop 23 – Altrincham Kersal 0.

Glossop now have a week off to recuperate before a difficult trip to Bolton on March 23.

Elsewhere, the second team pushed on from their win last week with another fine victory away at Sedgley Park. Following promotion last season, the going has been tough this year for Glossop 2nds but their 15-10 win took them out of the bottom three to give them hopes of competing in the same division next season. Try scorers in their win were Connor Grime (2) and Tom Benbow. 

By Josh Edwards