A BIG crowd at sun-drenched Clarington Park saw some high-quality football in the St Patrick’s and Rose Bridge derby clash, but the home side eventually got the better of it in a 38-10 win.
The highlight was a hat-trick of tries for St Pat’s left wing Andy Higham.
Rose Bridge took the initiative after only two minutes when winger Joe English found his way to the line with a couple of changes of direction which caught the home defence napping. Stand-off Chris Boylan added the goal.
It was probably the stimulus which St Pat’s needed, because they responded very quickly. Quick handling released Andy Higham for the first of his tries as he cut in neatly to evade the cover.
Brad Smith’s conversion equalised and he scored a try of his own on 12 minutes when he forced his way over to round off the pressure, also adding the goal. Bridge had a few near misses in this period and later, and better luck might have produced a more realistic scoreline.
With a quarter of the game gone, some sparkling handling and a final pass from Tom Woodcock released Andy Higham to finish well in the left corner. Smith converted from the touchline.
Bridge reasserted themselves, but that was it until half time, when the score remained 18-6.
St Pat’s adopted the cautious approach in the 44th minute by opting for a Smith penalty goal which left Bridge needing three scores to get on terms. Nevertheless, Rose Bridge gave as good as they got in the third quarter, with Chris Boylan and Matthew Meaden catching the eye.
The killer punch came on the hour when a switch pass from Ryan Baxter opened up the Bridge defence and sent Simon Atherton on a 50 yard run for the line. Bradley Smith goaled.
Bridge were not taking it lying down, and a long pass to the left by Matthew Meaden made space for sub Jimmy Highton to score in the corner The home side’s dominance was complete in the final ten minutes. Andy Higham popped up in mid-field and made a clean solo break from 50 yards to round off his hat-trick, Dean Hatton converting.
With a couple of minutes left, Phil Glover burst on to a short ball and over the line, and Dean Hatton’s goal concluded the scoring.
The official man of the match nominations went to Michael Houghton for Rose Bridge and Keiron Harrison of St Pat’s. St Pats are in cup action on Saturday when they host Hunslet Warriors.