WIRRAL RFC started the Regional 1 North West season at Rossendale with the players fortunate to play there without the usual wind and the rain.

Before the first team game, the second teams played earlier with Rossendale winning 46-22 although the away team had injury problems with Tom Stevens being taken from the field with a fractured ankle in the first half and Will Morris in the second half after a hit from a Rossendale player with his head loosened some teeth. As a result the hosts had two players red carded.

In respect of the first team, Mark Edwards made his debut from the subs bench and after a number of seasons Chris Burrows made an appearance in the first team playing on the left wing. Rhys James started the game at full back for his second game.

Wirral played uphill in the first half and within the first minute were 0-7 up when possession saw James put in Chris Crowley for a try under the posts, duly converted by James Annetts.

A few minutes later a good clearance up the field saw Wirral putting pressure on the Ross line but they could not exercise their control.

On 13 minutes Ross broke through the Wirral defence to score by a player not on the programme sheet, duly converted by Lewis Allen, 7-7.

Almost immediately Wirral were back in the lead when good backing up by Tom Akehurst saw him on hand to finish the move and score, easily converted by Annetts.

Both teams were looking to move the ball as wide as possible to take advantage of the ground conditions. On 21 minutes, Ross equalised with a try from Anthony Bingham again converted by Lewis Allen.

Sam Broadbent came on for Connor Moore in the back row. On 27 minutes Ross took the lead for the first time when a kick through beat the Wirral defence and Zach Stephens won the race to touchdown, but the try was not converted to make it 19-14.

Later in the half, Wirral had possession some 60m out, a kick over the defence by Crowley was collected by him on the bounce and although the Ross defence got back to cover but the pass to James enabled the young full back to race to the line and touchdown, again converted by Annetts to enable Wirral to regain the lead at 19-21.

Looking to retain the lead prior to half time was Wirral’s wish, helped by a long clearance downfield by Brooks put play back in the Ross half, however a couple of penalties to Ross enabled them to put pressure on the Wirral defence.

Lewis Hayes came on for Adam Don. However, Ross had pressure on the Wirral line and forced their way over the line with Matt Lamprey touching down, again converted to give Ross the lead at half time 26-21.

At the start of the second half, Ross immediately started attacking again with Liam Canning scoring from close to the line again converted.

In the next play Wirral kicked dead from 50m out which brought back play to the half way area and swift passing saw Adam Howard scoring.

On 53 minutes Ross dropped the ball some 40m out, which Wirral kicked through and Tom Akehurst won the race to touch down in the corner and Wirral get their try bonus point, the conversion was not made- 40-26.

Prior to this newcomer, Mark Edwards came on to play at scrum half, with Akehurst moving to the wing allowing Brooks to move into the centre in place of Annetts, the latter carrying a leg injury.

Connor Moore came on for Broadbent. There followed a series of incidents with Bingham using his pace to score again. Wirral continued to attack until the game was held up after a high tackle on a Wirral player .

The next try for Ross was scored in the corner before a series of plays and penalties took Wirral down to 5m from the Ross line where pressure on the saw a penalty try being awarded to Wirral, 54-33.

In the last play of the game saw Ross score their final and ninth try.

This was a good performance by Wirral against a strong experienced Rossendale team with an obvious influence from Sale players, in the centre was Denny Solomona (England RU international and also played for Great Britain at Rugby League), Byron McGuigan (Scotland, Glasgow, Exeter and Sale)-played for Sale last season and the flying winger, Anthony Bingham (ex England, Jamaica, Sale, Fylde and Sedgley Park).

Next week Wirral are at home to Macclesfield (kick off 3.00pm)