Eagles feel derby pain for Eagles

Blackpool Sea Eagles v Chorley Panthers' Centre Anton Garcia takes on the Panthers defence
Blackpool Sea Eagles v Chorley Panthers' Centre Anton Garcia takes on the Panthers defence
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Chorley Panthers 24, Blackpool Sea Eagles RL 22

A single conversion ultimately separated the sides in this end-to-end Lancashire derby.

The match began at a furious pace, with tight defence on both sides.

The deadlock was broken after 15 minutes, when Sea Eagles centre Anton Garcia offloaded superbly for debutant Chris Stone to power over for a try. Stand-off Michael Jones added the goal.

The lead did not last long as a mistake from the kick-off forced a drop-out from which the Panthers levelled the scores. Blackpool fell behind when an early kick took the cruellest of bounces for Chorley to score.

The visitors did not let their heads drop and came roaring back, Phil Mitchell’s long pass sending Antony Clark scampering over.

Jones’s second goal made it 12-12 at half-time.

Blackpool took the lead early in the second half as strong runs by Chris Lane and Karl Davies enabled Mitchell to slice through for a well-taken try.

However, this was the last time the Sea Eagles held the lead as the home side, aided by a string of penalties, camped in Blackpool territory.

And despite some fine scrambling defence, Chorley forced their way over for two converted tries to lead 24-16 going into the final quarter.

Powerful runs by Ash Portasman and Stone created the platform for replacement Nick Molloy to dart over from dummy-half and Jones’ third conversion cut the gap to two points with 15 minutes left.

The Sea Eagles stepped up a gear, launching wave after wave of attack only to be met with some excellent defence.

With time running out, Garcia raced away for what looked to be the match-winning score only for play to be pulled back for a forward pass. That proved to be Blackpool’s last real chance as the Panthers hung on.

A little more composure at key times could have resulted in Blackpool’s second win of the season, which they will aim to achieve at Crewe and Nantwich on Saturday.

The all-round excellence of second row Gary McLoughlin earned him the man of the match award.