Match report: Blackpool RUFC 10 Bolton 29
Blackpool lost their unbeaten home record this season as they went down to a tough 29-10 defeat against table toppers Bolton.
Injuries, illness and work commitments denied the hosts the services of a number of regulars, but they welcomed back others and handed debuts to three new players for this top-of-the-table clash.
A heavy deluge of rain in the hours leading up to kick off had saturated the pitch and made conditions extremely heavy, with the playing surface quickly degrading into a mud bath as both teams battled to establish the upper hand.
It was the visitors who drew first blood as they turned over the ball deep in the Blackpool half to go in for a converted try out wide.
The home side came storming back after good yards from Paul Vuti and Callum Reid saw the visitors commit an infringement.
That allowed Dean Finegan to take a quick tap and rampage over from close range, only for the match official to rule that the penalty must be retaken as it had been taken too quickly.
Soon after Blackpool did hit back, as powerful carries from man of the match Tristan Ainscough, Dan Sutcliffe and Lee Arrowsmith carried their side within touching distance of the Bolton line before Leon Mason produced a towering kick to the wing with Antony Clark quickest to react as he snapped up the loose ball to dive in at corner.
Unfortunately this was as good as it would get for the home side in the first period as, despite some great defence from Tom Sanderson, Chris Parlour and Manasa Walevu, the away side added a penalty and two more converted tries late in the half in build a commanding 22-5 lead at the interval.
The home side started the second period on top as they piled on the pressure by setting up camp in the Bolton half with Kyle Bedford, Poasa Koro and James Carty all coming close to opening the second-half scoring, only to denied by desperate scrambling defence from the visitors.
With around 15 minutes left Blackpool’s weight of possession finally told as strong carries from Greg Jones and Ste Rouke laid the foundations for fly-half Adam Glover to sidestep his way through the Bolton defence to touch down.
With time running out the hosts were forced to keep the ball alive in conditions that weren’t really conducive to this type of rugby.
This caused them to surrender the ball to the visitors deep within their own half.
Despite some great defence from Dave Collett and Wisey Vatanimoto among others, Bolton cut through for a converted score in the closing stages to seal a 29-10 victory.
Blackpool were naturally disappointed with their performance against what was a strong Bolton side, who were the better team overall and deserving of their victory.
Despite the defeat a number of players put in fine performances for the home side.
Blackpool will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to face Fleetwood in a a Fylde coast derby next Saturday.
Blackpool: Greg Jones, Chris Parlour, Dean Finegan, Tristan Ainscough, Lee Arrowsmith, Dan Sutcliffe, Callum Reid, Kyle Bedford, Leon Mason, Adam Glover, Paul Vuti, Manasa Walevu, Poasa Koro, Antony Clark, Tom Sanderson.
Replacements: Ste Rouke, Wisey Vatanimoto, James Carty, Dave Collett, Peter Ward.