FOR round two of the North West Men’s League season, Bolton Mets visited Ince Rose Bridge for the first time in more than 15 years.

Bolton were low on numbers, with injuries and other commitments keeping people away, and a somewhat unbalanced Mets team, with only one substitute available, lost 60-6.

The home side were well drilled, their mixture of youth and experience was a potent combination, and they scored an early try in the right corner.

This was quickly followed by another down the left, a breakaway try from the centre who had pace to burn. Two conversions made it 12-0.

A couple of early injury concerns had the Bolton side worried with Scott Ramage struggling with a groin strain and Kieran Lockett suffering a twisted ankle, and their absences meant the Mets were struggling to get any rhythm in attack, and with the ball going to ground on several occasions they continually gifted possession back to Ince.

This allowed them to capitalise with a few more tries to open up a 30-0 lead.

Despite being up against it, some really positive talk was coming from the Mets ranks,most notably Jason Nuttall and Andy Platt and captain Lockett giving his constructive feedback.

Rose Bridge have come down from Division Four and, even though they may have struggled last season, now had a squad firing on all cylinders.

Two more tries before the break game them a 42-0 lead, the kicker successful with all seven of his conversion attempts.

Head coach Sam Heyes did what he could at half time to encourage the players, and with club stalwart Joe Harte kitting up on the sideline, having already played two hours of Masters rugby, he was able to switch a few things around.

Moving from full-back to second row, Adam Millington continued his strong carries and gave the defenders some problems.

Some quick play-the-balls allowed Tom Cain to gain additional yards and put the Mets on the front foot.

Though they attacked the Ince line for a good period in the second half, Mets could not quite find the gap required.

With the big crowd making their way indoors due to the rain, the hosts increased their lead with another try, but Bolton soon had one of their own to celebrate.

Some strong defence by Tom Bradley, Andrew Mulligan, and Steven Hookham helped restrict yardage for Rose Bridge, and when the ball came loose in the tackle it was kicked forward by Cain.

In a straight foot race between Cain and Millington, it was the youngster who won out and dived on the ball in the in-goal area.

Paul Charnock stepped up to convert the try and add the extras.

This was the catalyst for some sustained Mets pressure, Callum Smith and Rik Fletcher taking some work off the forwards, while Lockett and Charnock organised the plays.

Leading from the front, Nuttall was also putting in an impressive performance to offer some encouragement for the remainder of the season.

The Bolton defence had improved immeasurably in the second half, and even though this was stifling the Wigan side somewhat, they still managed to extend their lead with two further tries, finding space around the edges.

Playing in his preferred role of full-back, Harte had some real input into the Bolton attack, a kick through forced a drop out and repeat set, before some link-up play saw them try and get round the outside of the defence.

One final try for Ince sealed the win, a convincing victory for a team who will no doubt finish close to the top of the table come September.

Bolton Mets find themselves on the end of some big scores during a season, but are always looking to improve, which is a slow but steady process and with some hard work they hope to make some progression as the season goes on.

The opposition coaches picked Cain as man-of-the-match, with Lockett and Bradley runners-up.

Andy Platt was picked out by Heyes as his pllayer-of-the-match. Though there were several candidates for the top tackler award, Adam Woods pipped Cain and Bradley.