Victorious Mooney: A captain returns
Knutsford travelled to Port Sunlight on Saturday looking to extend an unbeaten run there that stretched back over 5 years.
Knutsford have enjoyed a mixed start to the season, but were boosted by the return of their captain Mooney and one of last seasons key performers; Walker.
The home side began strongly and enjoyed possession and territory in the opening quarter. Knutsford were put under strong pressure. Ill discipline and errors were exacerbating the problem, but luckily the visitors defence stood strong. The hard work and industry of Barnes and Snook seemed determine to tackle everything that moved and set the example.
Port Sunlight threatened the Knutsford line but a series of strong scrums resulted in a penalty against the home side and Knutsford were able to clear their lines. Kemp returned to hooker and in tandem with Robertson controlled the lineout well. This gave Knutsford a constant source of ball from which to launch several attacks. As Knutsford began to capture some possession James, playing at outside centre, was able to use his ranging kicks to get the ball in behind the home side’s defence.
Knutsford’s determination and steel was rewarded on the 30 minute mark when Cook crashed over to score. A solid Knutsford line out provided clean ball in the opposition 22. A series of strong forward carries fell just short of the line, but quickly recycled ball allowed Cook to break two would be tacklers to score. Mooney converted and Knutsford were 7-0 up.
The home side continued with the kicking game which had found early success, but this constant supply of ball allowed Jones to get up to speed and he soon began to make his trademark runs. He was ably support by Hamilton and Fuller who linked well and looked confident in both defence and attack.
Knutsford began the second half strongly and looked to build on the lead they had established. The calming influence of Dunkerley was vital and keeping the visitors focussed on the job at hand. Robertson, Jones, Fuller and Edmonds continued to carry the ball with venom and provide a constant threat to Port Sunlight.
Knutsford doubled their lead after 15 minutes of the second half. Again powerful work by the forwards laid a solid platform for Knutsford to spring an attack. Walker was unlucky to be dragged down in the opposition 22 but the quick ball allowed Mooney to snipe around the fringes, throw the dummy and coast over to score. The conversion meant Knutsford lead 14-0.
Port Sunlight responded to the try and began to find their feet at the same time Knutsford’s concentration waned. Some ill discipline gave away cheap filed position and numerous missed tackles saw Port Sunlight travel from the own 5 metre line to score within only a few minutes.
Knutsford now braved themselves for an onslaught in the final 20 minutes, but it never came. Straight from the restart Knutsford were awarded a penalty, which Mooney converted to extend the lead to 10 meaning the home side now had to score twice. Knutsford had the opportunity to wrap the game up moments later but Edmonds knocked on right on the line. If he had managed to ground the ball it would have been one of the tries of the season. So swift hands realised Walker down the left wing, he drew his man a fed the ball to a rampaging Edmonds. The number 8 deftly chipped the winger and looked to have won the foot race but he spilt the ball as he looked to use his momentum to take him over the line.
Knutsford again took their foot of the pedal and Port Sunlight worked a good team try which the inside centre crash over next to the post. With the score at 17-14, Knutsford expected a difficult 10 minutes, but the home side failed to apply any pressure and Knutsford sealed the game with 5 minutes remaining. Cook made a superb line break close to half way and was able to fed Edmonds who sauntered down the centre of the pitch and managed hold off the covering winger to score under the posts. Mooney converted and sealed a 24-14 victory.
Knutsford were happy with there performance on the say and were buoyed by the return of some key players. Knutsford need to build on this performance and ensure that they continue to develop over the coming weeks. This Saturday Knutsford entertain Parkonians at Mereheath Lane, 2.15pm kick off.
Port Sunlight 14 – 24 Knutsford