Southport Ladies Rugby were held to a draw against Kendal Wasps on Sunday thanks to a last-gasp try. 

The game looked all but won for the Port but later drama hurt their hopes of closing the gap on the leading pack. 

With moments left, Southport’s 15-10 lead was cancelled-out with a try from close range, but they were spared from defeat with a missed conversion attempt.

A bitter seaside wind wisped around the ground and supporters were wrapped up accordingly as cries of “Southport” rang out from the home team huddle prior to kick-off.  

Sarah Wilkinson was first to score, and put the Wasps in front after finishing off a smart move. The conversion was missed, setting a tone of missed kicks for the game.

The visitors had put Southport under pressure from the start by recovering their kick-off, though after a short melee of turnovers, the first scrum was awarded to the home team.

Both sides battling hard. Photo via Sam Marshall.
Both sides battling hard. Photo via Sam Marshall.

But Southport began to utilise their forwards, using their props as battering rams. This rugged style of rugby paid-off  after a swift tap from Gracie Hill triggered a huge push towards the line which resulted in a try.

Southport’s chosen taker meticulously lined up their conversion but a wayward attempt meant that the scores were all square.

It looked absolutely certain for the away team to go ahead for the second time in the game, but some impressive last ditch defending from prevented the inevitable.

Kendal applied further pressure and this was enough to get them over the line. Once again, the conversion was missed.

With 15 minutes to go in the first half, a brutal tackle on Olivia Jessup caused a stoppage in play, and after the restart there were no further scores before the break. 

Kendal looked the stronger side in the first half, but after the break the Wasps’ seemed to lose all structure.

Southport were then the team applying the pressure with some impressive back-play.

Morgann Griffiths really seemed to take the game into her own hands at the beginning of the second with some impressive line breaks, and her team followed accordingly.

Southport using their backs and breaking through the Kendal defence. Photo via Sam Marshall.
Southport using their backs and breaking through the Kendal defence. Photo via Sam Marshall.

Southport were well and truly on top for the first portion of the second half.

It paid off 12 minutes in when another minute of madness eventually saw a Southport body barrelling over the line. They missed the chance to go ahead with the conversion and the scores were locked at 10-10.

Clare Gelderd fought back for the away side with a staggering line break. She was clear, the try was hers, but a brilliant piece of recovery defending from the Southport backs meant that her break was halted.

Southport were applying the pressure, and after a yellow card for Kendal they took the game by the scruff of the neck. Kendal were a player down, Southport on the other hand, scored to go five points up.

But to Port’s dismay the tide turned again as Kendal found momentum and a try from the 10-metre line brought the sides level again. Southport were spared defeat, though, with the sixth missed conversion of the day. 

Both teams will be disappointed to not have come away with a victory which leaves Southport in fifth place in Women’s Championship North 2.