Garstang put the spectre of two crushing last-minute defeats behind them with a comfortable, if not convincing, win on Saturday.
They beat St Edward’s Old Boys by 18-7 in their North Lancs One clash in a disjointed game which was hampered by a lengthy injury break and finished in almost total darkness.
Garstang were looking for a strong start but they were dealt a blow within moments of the kick-off when Pete Duckworth went down with a very nasty gash to his knee following the first collision. The game was halted for several minutes while the unlucky player was removed from the proceedings.
Garstang seemed to lose a bit of focus after the delay and, although they were dominant at the set piece, they were strangely subdued in open play.
St Edward’s took heart from this and you could see them starting to believe that they could win the game.
The opposition number 10 was proving to be a real handful and he was making some excellent line breaks to put the visitors on the front foot. From one such break he got to within 10 metres of the line and when the ball came back, the full back strolled through a static defence to go over under the posts.
The conversion was good to leave Garstang facing a 7-0 deficit. At this point Lee Acton had to leave the field and he was replaced by Richard Orr.
St Edward’s were now enjoying a good period and when they got a relatively easy penalty on the stroke of half time they looked set to extend their lead. However, the kick was pushed wide to leave Garstang within one score at the break.
Garstang got the perfect start to the second half with a score just a minute in. From the kick-off Garstang were awarded a penalty which was kicked to the corner. The line out was won by O’Brien and then the pack drove forward over the line before Kelsall got the ball down (5-7).
Garstang took the lead when a penalty was won in midfield and McLennan calmly slotted the kick over (8-7).
At this point, conditions were decidedly gloomy but the referee indicated that there were still 20minutes to play.
Kelsall earned his second try to take the score to 15-7 lead.
Garstang carried on going forward in the last few minutes which were being played out in pitch dark conditions and they were awarded with a penalty in front of the posts. McLennan kicked it over to complete the much needed 18-7 victory.
Garstang: Miller, Duckworth, Corless, Acton, O’Brien, Billington, Kelsall, Ford, Barton, Dawson, Rowbottom, McLennan, Pye, Constant, Nickson. Replacements: Slater, Orr, Gunn.
Next Saturday the 1st XV are away at Oldham, the Blues are at home to Rossendale 3rds and the Viagrans are at home to Sefton Veterans.