After three weeks without a game East travelled across the borough on Saturday to play title contenders Wigan St Pats in a must win game for both teams as East look to escape the threat of relegation.
From the off it was obvious both teams were in it to win with some great rugby on show in front of a rather disappointing crowd for a local derby.
East struck first with nine minutes played, Danny Kilshaw’s high ball on the last tackle was knocked on beneath the uprights giving East the ball at the scrum.
Scrum half Martin Keavney put in a solo attempt for the line but was held short, from the quick play ball, hooker, Kerrod Selmes found Sam Grainey on the overlap to score in the corner. Selmes adding the conversion.
Pats struck back with three converted tries to take an 18-6 lead before Ryan O’Toole crashed over just short of half time, Tom Worthington converting to take the teams into the break with East trailing 18-12.
Within a minute of the restart Pats scored another converted try, which earlier in the season would have lead to a collapse in morale for East. Following their recent improvement in form East picked up a gear.
Gavin Hunter scoring out wide on 46 minutes, followed by Adam Holland ripping the ball in a one-on-one tackle, 10 from the Pats line to cross, Worthington adding the second conversion to make it Pats 24 East 22.
With 15 minutes remaining Kilshaw was sent from the field after a high tackle on Dec McLoughlin which saw the game held up for 30 minutes while the young winger was treated and taken to hospital by ambulance.
Once play resumed MoM Kris Ratcliffe crashed over and Dean Hatton’s conversion took the score to 30-22. The 12 men of East continued play with belief that they could still win the game and when Pats had a player sin-binned with seven minutes to go it looked possible.
With minutes remaining Adrian Dootson scored and Worthington’s conversion made it 30-28, unfortunately time was against East as there was only time for a couple of sets before the final whistle.
With three games remaining, of which the final two are away against relegation threatened opponents, Skirlaugh and Oulton Raiders, East can take a lot from the encounter as they prepare for their next game against Ince Rose Bridge at Ledgard Avenue on Friday, October 5 (7.30pm ko), before travelling to Skirlaugh the following Saturday, the date for the Oulton match has yet to be confirmed.