Vagabonds just edged out by Sefton

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SOUTH Lancashire and Cheshire Division Two leaders Sefton beat Vagabonds at Ballafletcher to maintain their charge at the top of the table.

Vagabonds kept them in check, however, and could have had a much better result if they’d put away their chances, especially late in the second half when Sefton appeared to run out of steam.

After a scrappy opening five minutes it was Sefton who took the lead when the unlikely figure of prop forward David Chiocchi showed a good turn of pace down the left wing and dived in for the first try of the game and a 5-0 lead.

From then on Sefton got a grip of the game and looked to be firmly in charge. In the 12th minute they doubled their lead from a lineout deep in Vagas’ half. Stand-off Adam Marnell squeezed through the Vagas first up defence and looked for an offload. As he glanced around him the defence hesitated and he stepped through the resulting gap to touch down close to the posts. He converted his own try to make it 12-0.

Johnny Beckley nailed a penalty for Vagabonds in the 23rd minute to peg the lead back to 3-12, but five minutes later Sefton were in again.

This one came from forward pressure deep in the Vagas 22. Vagas actually snuffed out the Sefton attack and turned the ball over. The clearance kick missed touch, however, and Sefton ran it straight back with right wing Steve Johnson squeezing over in the corner before the Vagas defence could reorganise. Marnell missed the conversion.

Vagas kept running at the visitors and this soon yielded a scoring chance. Both fell to the boot of Beckley. One went over, the other didn’t which left Vagas trailing 6-17 at the interval.

Quarter-of-an hour into the second half it was nearly all over when Steve Johnson came off his wing and got over the line for Sefton. But he was adjudged to be held up and Vagas were able to hang on and clear the danger.

In the last 20 minutes Sefton were showing clear signs of fatigue. The scrum, which was dominant early on, lost its snap and they weren’t clearing the rucks in the same way they had started. This gave Vagas chance and after Leigh Kennaugh had made a half-break they were presented with a gilt-edged one.

Kennaugh’s long pass put Sam Liver clear on the right wing. His strong run got to within yards of the Sefton line and when the ball was recycled there was a two-man overlap. Unfortunately, the last pass wasn’t a good one and Bryn Griffiths, try as he might, couldn’t quite pick it up off his bootlaces with the try line begging.

It wasn’t until the last five minutes that Vagas finally cracked the defence. Leigh Kennaugh wriggled and twisted his way clear from the side of a ruck and made 10 metres or so. The ruck ball was quick and clean, putting Liver clear down his wing and this time there was no stopping him.

His try put Vagas within striking distance but unfortunately it was only enough for a losing bonus point as they were beaten by the clock.

RAMSEY ALSO LOSE AT HOME

l Ramsey went down 14-19 at Mooragh Park to fellow strugglers Wallasey.

Tries from Craig Long and Lance Wyllie, plus two conversions from Fintan Cummins, gave Ramsey a 14-5 half-time lead.

But they were unable to hang onto it in the second half and two Wallasey tries gave the Merseyside visitors the points.

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