The Canada Wolverines were unable to contain the North West English Lionhearts as they are defeated at home 6-38 this weekend in front of 500 home fans.
In their first home game in more than a year, Canada started a little slow as they eased into the warm evening conditions at Lamport Stadium. A few early handling errors got the better of the Canadians as they worked their way into the game.
Canada started to gain momentum with their forward pack dominating field position thanks to some strong early carries by Cam Grace and Erick Alvarado. The game moved around the field with neither team backing down.
Canada looked to be the first to score after some well-earned try-line repeat sets. A superbly placed kick between the posts by halfback Steve Piatek nearly saw Canada open their scoring account. The well-placed kick forced the Lionhearts to knock the ball dead and concede a line drop out.
A testament to the visitors as they grinded out a heroic defensive effort as the home team were unable to convert the field position into points. This saw the Lionhearts capitalized on a crucial error deep in their attacking half and sniffed out a wide try down the left side of the field to break the deadlock. A second try came shortly after on the opposite wing, with the visitors securing the second try of the night.
The Wolverines continued to show fight with some crucial defense from veteran Wolverine Tony Felix, including a try-saving tackle late in the first half. Fullback Kevin Gurniak was tested all night but proved himself with some courageous catches and kick returns, while fan favourite Enoch Wamalwa had some barnstorming runs causing some problems for the English defence.
Before the half was finish the Wolverines were caught out wide again twice more, with the English Lionhearts leading the half 0-22.
The Lionhearts immediately continued where they left off, quickly scoring a further three tries in the second half to take the game to 0-38, seemingly crushing the home team.
Ex-USA Tomahawk Akarika Dawn, proved a handful on with some big hits on the Lionhearts, forcing a handful of errors and helping the Wolverines to build momentum. This set the foundation for some big hit ups by Alvarado, Grace and Chuck Curran, inspiring the home team and their crowd.
This momentum shift saw Canada claim their only try of the game after a pinpoint short grubber kick by Piatek as Miller claimed the try close to the uprights, making an easy conversion for Piatek.
The momentum continued but as time closed on the second half Canada were unable to capitalize, seeing a victory to the Lionhearts as the Wolverines went down 6-38.
The Canadians can be proud of their effort against a well-organised and much more seasoned opposition, having all but one try conceded on their wings. The result gives the Wolverines much needed experience in the lead up to their upcoming game against the USA Hawks next month as they prepare to claim the first America’s Championship Cup.
Canada Wolverines 6 (Tries: C. Miller 1; Conversions: S. Piatek 1/1) defeated by North West English Lionhearts 38 (Tries: J. Gibson 2, D. Gee 2, M. Norton 1, M. Lewis 1, L. Quinn 1; Conversions: J. Gibson 5/7)
Canada Wolverines: Kevin Gurniak, Billy Gemmell, Eddie Bilborough, Christian Miller, Tony Felix, Nick Hails, Steve Piatek, Cam Grace, Shaun Mckenzie, Chuck Curran, Erick Alvarado, Akarika Dawn, Max Smillie.
Substitutes: Orlando Jones, Denny McCarthy, Enoch Wamalwa, Eric Moyer
North West English Lionhearts: Chris Scarborough (Hindley), Rob Bailey (Hindley), Jordan Gibson (Haydock), Matty Norton (Clock Face Miners), Martin Lewis (Leigh Miners Rangers), Andrew Groves (Leigh Miners Rangers), Ben Roberts (Thatto Heath Crusaders), Ryan Hickman (Latchford Albion), Joe Harrison (Leigh Miners Rangers), Danny Owens (Shevington Sharks), Danny Gee (Haydock), Adam Prendergast (Widnes St Maries), Liam Quinn (Thatto Heath Crusaders)
Substitutes: Jonathan Padgett (Wigan St Patricks), Chris Lunt (Halton Farnworth Hornets), Dave Astley (Orrell St James), Josh Leiper (Wigan St Patricks)