Bolton came close to beating last years Cup winners at a close game in Liverpool.
Starting slowly the Cherry and Whites forward dominated team struggled to close down the fast backs of Liverpool who used the offloading game to great effect going ahead by two converted tries in the first 10 minutes.
Bolton were rocking and staring at a heavy defeat but dug deep and kept playing. Jimmy Holland kicked a long ball through for winger Sam Hart to chase, forcing Liverpool to concede a line-out in their own 22. From there the Forwards crashed into the Liverpool defense, Oliver Thompson inches short popped the ball up for Brandon Booth to power over and open the Bolton scoring.
Bolton couldn't add the extra points from the conversion but the score had settled the nerves.
Sadly the Cherry and Whites couldn't capitalise on the positive attacking rugby and weak tackling led to another Liverpool try.
Bolton responded admirably and with the hard running of Jack Byrne getting to within feet of the try line, Bolton number 9 Jack Philips delivered quick ball to the winger Issac Woods to score in the corner.
Bolton were in the ascendancy now and were playing good attacking rugby, after hard work by the forwards Jimmy Holland sold a dummy and went throgh under the posts. the final Bolton try came from jack Philips kicking through and collecting his own ball, popping up to the support runner Dylan Heywood to close the gap to 2 points.
Bolton pressed hard but ran out of time, they made the journey home knowing that but for a better start and a couple of missed tackles, they would have secured victory against the cup champions. Final score Liverpool 26 - Bolton 24
Bolton grind out a hard fought victory in the quarter-final of the Lancashire plate.
In what both sets of coaches wistfully remember as "proper rugby weather" of rain and mud. Rossendale came to the avenue of trees for the rescheduled match. Failure to play here today would result in the fixture being decided by a toss of the coin and neither team wanted that. Early pitch inspection decided the game could be played - the pitch was heavy but not dangerous.
As the match warm up began so did the rain.At kick off the heavens had decided to open up and thats the way it stayed for the rest of the game. Bolton started brighter and the forward pack played the simple game, taking the ball straight and recycling. It wasn't long before the first of many dropped balls and scrums took place.
Both teams were contesting the rucks and both teams struggled with the conditions. but it was Bolton that made the breakthrough with Captain Alex Tonges explosive power and pace breaking through Rossendale tackles to score under the posts.
Issac Woods converting for the lead 7-0 at half time. The referee and coaches decided to carry on with the game, the pitch was muddy but just about playable still.
The second half saw plenty of invention by Bolton, Jimmy Holland at 10 kicking the ball over for the wingers to chase, but the conditions were deteriorating again and even the simplest of backs moves were fraught with danger. Bolton played deep into the Rossendale 22 and forced the visitors to carry the ball over their own line, giving Bolton an attacking 5 metre scrum. From there Harry Round at 8 was unstoppable and crashed over for the second Bolton try.
Rossendale started to get a foothold in the game by kicking and chasing, Bolton wingers having to put the ball out for a Rossedale line out in Boltons 22.
Rossendale decided to have a short line out but overthrew the ball, Alex Tonge gladly catching the ball and bursting through the Rossendale defence. From is own 22 Alex then showed outrageous speed to outpace the entire Rossendale team to score under the posts and secure the victory.Issac converting for the final score of Bolton19- Rossendale -0
Dominant U16s bury opponents.
Bolton played local rivals Bury in the Lancashire League and came away with an emphatic win. Bury struggled to live with the pace and power of the Bolton pack from the start. An early line-out gave the Bolton pack opportunities to go through 3 phases before Alex Tonge crashed over within the first 2 minutes to open the scoring. Issac Woods added the conversion. Bury struck back with a well-worked try before Bolton's aggression and physicality took control. Alex Tonge again unstoppable running in another of his 3 tries. The pressure was relentless from the Bolton pack, Brandon Booth, Ben Knowles and the two second row forwards Darren Robinson and Joe McHugh crashing forwards time after time, supported by Jake Ryan and Joe Mackey allowing flanker Ollie Thompson to bulldoze his way through for the next score.
Jimmy Holland, restored to the starting line-up after injury in the first game of the season, was pulling the strings in the number 10 position. Taking quick ball from a ruck he sold the dummy before darting through and racing clear of the chasing Bury team to claim a great solo try.
Bolton reset and went again, moving the ball through the forwards then the backs - Jack Philips linking with Jimmy Holland, Jack Byrne, Jordan Griffiths and Harry Cleworth to batter at the Bury line.
Bolton were playing with a degree of freedom that comes from confidence and an ever growing scoreline, their willingness to try different angles and mix up the attack brought the try of the match. Bury were defending phase after phase when Jimmy Holland spotted the huge overlap on the wing. Kicking the ball over the onrushing defense for winger Issac woods to outpace the full back and score in the corner.
It was inevitable that the next points on the board were from the Cherry and Whites, Alex Tonge showing pace and a change of direction to claim another try.
The fitness of the Bolton pack and hard running brought the final 7th try from winger Sam Hart after many phases of play from now convincing team. With the points gap at 40 the official game stopped and converted to a developmental game. To Bury's credit, they kept playing and never gave up.In order to keep the game going Bury needed some extra players and Bolton's Dan Nadin, Jake Ryan and Darren Robinson all showed great camaraderie with our local rivals by pulling on a Bury shirt for the last 10 minutes.
Bolton U16s defeat at Rochdale.
Boltons under 16 team first game of the new season was an away league match at Rochdale. The game started brightly enough with forwards getting plenty of possession. Bolton 10 Jos Winstanley adding territorial kicking to the game with great effect now that lifting in the line out is allowed.
The cherry and whites made steady progress up the pitch crashing forwards at every opportunity. Rochdales defense was solid and uncompromising and only last ditch tackling saved the Rochdale scoreboard.
It was against the run of play when Rochdale ran out the first two scores, converting both to lead 14-0 at half time.
Rochdales aggression at the breakdown was starting to tell, even though Bolton pack were dominating with Ben Gidman Knowles and Harry Round outstanding in the forwards. Rochdales forwards were preventing quick ball and starving the Bolton backs of decent possession.
From the base of a ruck number 9 Jack Philips sniped over for Boltons first score and the momentum started to swing towards the visitors, within 5 minutes some great attacking play Jos Winstanley sending number 8 Jack Byrne crashing over for the second try.
Bolton sensed the tide was turning but it was Rochdale that took the next points, agonisingly it was counter attacking rugby from Rochdale that was the difference on the day. The Bolton team were dominant in possession and territory but couldn't find a way to turn that into points on the day.
Final score Rochdale 33 - Bolton 10
Points even at the Theater of Trees.
Bolton hosted top of the table Ormskirk in round 2 of the Blackstick Blue league after last weeks fixture was rained off.
Knowing the ground was to be heavy Bolton played a forwards based game from the kick off with purpose and drive. From a hurried Ormskirk clearance the ball bounced kindly for Ormskirk and very much against the run of play, made the first score. Missing a conversion from in front of the posts. Bolton restarted and came at Ormskirk again and again with big running forwards Joe Mchugh, Jack Byrne and Jordan Griffiths making good ground. Recently returned from injury Brandon Booth gave Bolton extra yards with bulldozing runs and was immense in support with dynamic prop Harry Round.
The Bolton centres of Jimmi Holland and Dom Hardy were also getting over the game line and were proving a handful for Ormskirk. Some indiscipline was inevitable with the amount of contact being made and Bolton found themselves 0-8 down after a penalty conceded in a ruck.
The Cherry and Whites score came from a solid scrum, after recycling the ball quickly the backs were able to release Joe Brooks on 24 minutes for his first score. Bolton number 10 Jos Winstanley add the extra points from a difficult angle. 7-8
When Ormskirk did attack Bolton defense was more than ready with big tackles being made all over the pitch - brothers Harry and Nat May were excellent in defense.
Bolton didn't give in and stuck to the game plan, making changes in the forward line, Joe Mackey and Darren Robinson with fresh legs once again driving the outstanding Ormskirk defense back up the pitch. Ormskirk tried hard but conceded a penalty from which Jos Winstanley took the 3 points.10-8
Prolonged pick and drives should have seen flanker Jake Ryan score by touching the ball to the post protectors but alas it wasn't to be. The Cherry and Whites were camped in the opposition 22 for long periods before full back Dylan Hill crossed the line only to be denied by desperate defending adjudged to have not grounded the ball. In a simlilar fashion to their first try Ormskirk scored from a missed clearance. kicking through and converting to lead 10-15.
Play resumed with more Bolton pressure and eventually sent Joe Brooks to score in the corner. 15-15.
Unable to convert from a very difficult angle Bolton had to settle for the draw. On balance lots of positives to take from the game but a feeling that we could have easily won that contest.