Blackburn 1st XV continued their winning start to the season with a comfortable 45–0 away win against Millom.
Despite the wet and windy weather, Blackburn were far more clinical than last week’s win against Egremont, as they scored 7 excellent tries to give them a maximum 5 points from their trip to Cumbria, although there were chances to make the score even more emphatic. However, throughout the game there were great passages of interplay, with Nick Rhodes and man of the match, Liam Oldham, being at the heart of most good things.
It was actually Millom who had the majority of the possession in the first 10 minutes, however they were unable to break through the Blackburn defence. Then in the 12th minute Phil Hesketh picked up an injury and was replaced by head coach Dino Radice and Radice made an almost instant impression. As Blackburn attacked Radice received the ball and took it up to the Millom 22, he released a perfect pass for Rick Maudsley to run on to and score in the corner, this gave Blackburn a 5 – 0 lead.
Blackburn extended their lead in the 26th minute with an excellently worked try. Rick Maudsley broke out of Blackburn’s 22, he carried the ball into the Millom half, the ball was recycled and was passed out to Dino Radice, he fed it inside nicely to Liam Oldham, who showed good pace to take play into the Millom 22, he was well supported by Norton Johnston, who then passed on to hooker Paul Millea, who scored his second try of the season. Marco Vaghetti converted to make the score 12 – 0.
Blackburn were now in total control of the game and they added to their tally after 30 minutes with a great backs try. The move started on the 10 metre line, the ball went along the backs, with Rick Maudsley drawing the defence and making the final pass to Ste Bibby who ran round to score under the posts to keep up his run of scoring in every match this season. Marco Vaghetti again converted taking the score to 19 – 0.
At start of the second half, the home side managed to pin Blackburn in their own half, but again Blackburn defended well and managed to clear their line. Then on 49 minutes, Blackburn extended their lead with another well worked try. Fly half, Marco Vaghetti, took the ball very flat, he jinked past a couple of defenders, he laid it on to the charging Gareth Bullen, who offloaded to Liam Oldham, in turn the ball was passed to Tom Marland and then to Joe Holden, who crossed the line to score Blackburn’s fourth try, which secured the bonus point. Dom Hogan successfully converted the kick to take Blackburn’s lead to 26 – 0.
Millom showed good heart and for the next 10 minutes they tested Blackburn’s defence, twice being held up over the Blackburn try line. Then after 62 minutes Millom had a man sin binned for a punch, this eased the pressure on Blackburn and they made it 5 tries on 65 minutes. Paul Millea showed good strength to break into the home side’s 22, he had good options available to him and decided to pass on to Rick Maudsley to score his second try of the game. The conversion was successfully kicked by Dom Hogan, giving Blackburn a 33 – 0 lead.
In the 76th minute Blackburn scored their sixth try, Paul Millea helped win a scrum against the head, this enabled, scrum half, Joe Holden to pick up from the back of the scrum and from 10 metres out he managed to weave his way over the try line to score his second try of the game. Dom Hogan took the score to 40 – 0 with another successful conversion.
Blackburn made it 45 – 0 with the last move of the game, it was another fine try, Dom Hogan received the ball in his own half, he did well to carry the ball up to Millom’s 22, he showed good composure to feed the ball inside to centre, Anton Garcia, to score Blackburn’s seventh try.
After the match head coach, Dino Radice, gave his thoughts on Blackburn’s latest trip to Cumbria, “I think Millom rugby club have shown our team and supporters great hospitality today, I feel sorry for them after losing several players from last season, however they were poor today. We at stages showed some excellent, unselfish play, but at other times we chose incorrect options and we will need to improve on our decision making.”
Blackburn’s next match is at home against Workington on Saturday.