It was mud, sweat and tears for both sides after less than half a game. With one of Southport’s players stretchered off and others starting to drop, the referee and captains came together and decided to call it, for the welfare of the players.

The teams had warmed up in anticipation, wondering how far they’d get before you could no longer see a stem of grass.

From kick off, Southport didn’t look like they were going to repeat the performance of their previous meeting which ended in a 70-7 trashing for Crewe and Nantwich. With some of their key players missing, Sian Meath stepped up to the line to kick the game off.

With the kick not even going 10, they came back to the mark for a scrum. Both teams put up a fight and the scrum stayed strong. It was an indication of what was going to be a battle of the forwards.

First scrum of what would be a short-lived match / Image by Gracie Hill

It wasn’t until Nansai Mooney dived on to a Crewe dropped ball that the Port got a proper run with it. Hard lines ran from captain Laura Walton supported by Morgan Griffiths pushed the away team well in to Crewe territory.

The conditions certainly saw an impact on both sides’ performance. The home side not even making it out of their own half.

That was until Aimee Smith put boot to ball at a penalty making up plenty of ground. Full back Francesca Rouffignac had read it like a book and secured it, ready to set off back in to attack.

Captain Walton made her meters before popping it into the safe hands of Millie Tavernier and it wasn’t long until Liv Jessup went flying round the outside. A strong tackle from Chelease Hobbs stopped her just five meters out.

Under the pressure several of the Crewe players found themselves coming in from the side, giving another crucial penalty away.

Faye Dagnall knew what her forwards are capable of so sent it to touch for a line out. With the ball safely down and in, they got to work with the shove. Just short, Mooney saw her line set and got it out to Molly Harris-Jenkins who ran hard and fast, grounding it for the five points.

After missing out on the bonus two points, they quickly got back to it. A hard line by the 17-year-old Aimee Keating required the support of Meath but it was that which sent her collapsing to the floor.

Immediately, it was apparent that this was not good. Ten minutes and a stretcher later, saw Harriet Hunt make her Southport Debut as the replacement.

A difficult pass and pressure from Katie Heriene gave the home side the scrum and Christine Lawson saw her chance to take it off the back of the scrum. A quick pass to captain, Kerry-Ann Dynan, helped them gain some ground, with three of the Port women having to work together to get her down.

Unfortunately, this saw one of the defenders go down injured too. The stop saw Mooney also seek medical attention.

This was enough for the referee to bring the captains in. A discussion whether the pitch was still playable ensued. The welfare of the women always comes first and with that in mind, the game was cut short.

It was a result neither team wanted nor expected but was a fair and sensible outcome. A replay should see both teams come back fighting in an attempt to prove what they can do when their boots aren’t being lost to the bog.