Ince will rue all the mistakes and penalties which contributed to the dominance Simms Cross held over their opposition.The game got underway in front of a decent crowd, with both teams displaying nerves, spilling the ball plenty, exchanging early possessions, but it was Simms Cross who settled down to execute some well constructed play. It was after 8 minutes, an intercepted pass resulted in a Chris Percival try, he latched onto a wayward pass and raced 45 metres to score out wide, which was goaled by Paul Roberts for a 0-6 lead. Ince continued to concede far to much possession and penalties gifting Halton cheap ball in good field position, as well as a one man advantage, when, robust Bridge Hooker Carl Roden was sin binned on 11 minutes, for persistent high tackles.Rose Bridge stemmed the tide and the busy half back pairing of the Baker boys Tony and Ryan marched their side around the field with some enterprising play. But the real deciding factor in this game was the arm wrestle between both sets of forwards. Rose Bridge front row was fierce and the back row was led by hard working Scott Winstanley who was a real thorn in the side of Simmies, but the Widnes forwards won the war of attrition, with better mobility and speed, Shaun McDermott setting the benchmark with an 80 minute effort, that saw him pick up the M.O.M. award, but he must have been run close by the architects of the team, hooker Paul Walsh, scrum half Paul Roberts and stand off Neil Percival. All the Simms Cross forwards aimed up with Andy O’Neil, Paul Hunt and Matty Carmichael providing good go forward and disciplined defence, the line speed and shape was spot on.Rose Bridge gifted Simms Cross 2 points after 27 minutes with more ill discipline, but Rose Bridge responded well to going 8 nil down, and lifted their intensity to launch a mini revival, and following some enthusiastic kick chase from Ryan Staziker which earned his team a repeat set, that the momentum switched, and after 32 minutes substitute hooker Martin Packingham did what all good hookers do, support the ball carrier, and he finished a fine move with a try left of the posts, which Lee Jukes converted to reel in the deficit to just two points at 6-8.The fight back continued with Simmies showing some ill-discipline of their own, with Jukes kicking a penalty goal on 35 minutes to make the scores even and that was how it looked going into half time, but young winger Brendan Kavanagh had other ideas popping up out wide and outstripping the Bridge cover from a slick pass from second rower McDermott to score in the corner in the 40th minute, which reversed the momentum back to Simms Cross and struck a real psychological blow to the opposition, to go in at the break with a 8-12 advantage.
The second 40 belonged to Simms cross with better execution and completion rates Bridge were held scoreless, and contributed to their own downfall conceding 15 penalties in the match, and completing only 17 out of 37 possessions, whilst Simmies scored 11 unanswered points, with the game breaker 60 metre effort from Chris Percival who raced under the posts to bag a brace of tries, Roberts goaled and that was the crowning result to a spectacular season for the BARLA and NWC coach of the year Rob Shone and his Simms Cross side who still have an appointment with Blackbrook in the champion of champions final in two weeks time. Roberts had knocked over two penalty goals earlier in the half and full back Capewell slotted over a drop goal to edge the scores out to 8-17 before the final nail was hammered home by Percival.
In truth 4 times, consecutive, NWC premier division champions, never really looked in any real danger, always having good energy levels and a better kicking game they out enthused Rose Bridge and held territorial advantage for long periods, and when called upon, the desire to defend their line was superb with all hands to the pump, Bridge struggled to break down the first line and when they did on the odd occasion, the cover was desperate from Simms Cross forcing errors, whilst Simmies dominance at the ruck was a constant threat to the side from Wigan. With BARLA chairman Spen Allison presenting the 2007 National Champions Halton Simms Cross with the cup it was just reward for one of the best amateur side Britain has to offer, Report compiled by Last Tackle’s Amateur correspondent Dave Tickle.
Best for Ince Rose Bridge were, Tony Baker, Ryan Baker, Winstanley, Staziker and Roden.
Best for Halton Simms Cross were, McDermott, Roberts, Walsh, Neil Percival Chris Percival, Hunt and O’Neil.
Teams: Ince Rose Bridge:
1. JUKES 2. TAYLOR 3. PHOENIX 4. ROSTRON 5. ROCK 6. T.BAKER 7. R.BAKER
8. WHITESIDE 9. RODEN 10. ASHTON 11. WINSTANLEY 12. STAZIKER 13. ELSE
SUBS: 14. HAMPSON 15. BOYD 16. EATOCK 17. PACKINGHAM
1. CAPEWELL 2. BILLINGTON 3. D.PERCIVAL 4. C.PERCIVAL 5. KAVANAGH
6. N.PERCIVAL 7. ROBERTS 8. SWAIN 9. WALSH 10. O’NEIL 11. CARMICHAEL 12. McDERMOTT 13. HUNT
SUBS: 14. MYLER 15. I.BROWN 16. HIGHFIELD 17. O.BROWN