Sir Roderick has deployed Hoghton's brigade of horse (two regiments) on his right, Gerard's foot (3 regiments) is in the centre accompanied by a light gun and Tyldesley's horse (two regiments) are facing the ford. On the road is the convoy, under the command of Sir James Moylneux. The column is led by a unit of dragoons; with the wagons, escorted by two units of commanded shot, following. With the sides fairly evenly matched, Sir Roderick realised that forcing a crossing would not be easy; he therefore pushed his dragoons forward, intending to occupy the toll house. In the centre his artillery moved forward to 'soften up' Gell's regiment, prior to a general advance by Gerard's brigade. He ordered his cavalry to move forward and engage the enemy horse with pistol fire, but not to cross the river.
As the dragoons trotted down the road and began to deploy they came under fire from the defenders of the toll house; surprised, they fell back and requested reinforcements. To their right, Hoghton's men had moved up to the river, but Starkie's men had moved back out of range. On the Royalist left, the gun was quickly in action and soon found the range causing significant casualties in Gell's regiment. Tyldesley's men remained a couple of moves back from the ford, waiting for the Parliamentary infantry to be forced to fall back due to losses.
Sir Roderick ordered the dragoons to move round the toll house and support Hoghton's cavalry by the river. He also ordered one unit of commanded shot from Molyneux's command forward, to take on the Parliamentary dragoons in the toll house. The commanded shot were to be supported by the green regiment from Gerard's brigade. Assheton had begun to move his infantry more to the centre of his position to oppose Gerard's brigade, but he had had to halt Cunliffe's regiment to counter the Royalist dragoons. Cunliffe rather exceeded his orders, because, not only did he reform to face the dragoons, he then advanced across the river and charged them!. Not surprisingly the dragoons did not wait to receive the pike charge, firing a parting volley, they quickly mounted their horses and fell back. In the process they fell into disorder and Sir Roderick had to gallop over and in concert with Sir James Molyneux rally them.
However, Cunliffe's impetuosity had placed his unit in a bad position. Intending to support the dragoons in the toll house, he now instead found himself threatened by Hoghton's horse. To protect themselves, the unit formed hedgehog, but now were vulnerable to fire from the second commanded shot unit and the reformed dragoons, in addition to the pistols of Hoghton's troopers. They could expect no support from the dragoons in the toll house who were trying to beat off a determined assault by the green regiment. In the end the dragoons were successful, but it was only a temporary respite.
|Struggle for the toll house|
|Starkie caught in flank|
Hoghton's remaining regiment now crossed the river and charged Starkie's second unit. The melee was indecisive and both units fell back to reform. Hoghton's men accomplished this quickly and charged again. Their target this time was Cunliffe's regiment which was still trying to recover from their losses. They stood no chance when the Royalist cavalry hit them, the majority turned and ran, a few stood, but they were cut down. Hoghton's second regiment, fresh from their victory over Starkie now joined the fray and together the two Royalist units charged the last cavalry on the Parliamentary left. If this attack succeeded few, if any of the Parliamentary army would escape. Against the odds, fighting like demons, the Parliamentary cavalry drove off both their assailants, buying Assheton a little more time.
|Cunliffe's men routed|
With their general dead, four units routed from the field and the majority of the remainder in a shaken condition, the Parliamentary army quit the field, allowing the convoy to progress to Lathom.
Another seesaw action under the Pike and Shotte rules. For this battle we watered down the 'disorder' result, For trained regiments it required 2 6's to impose disorder by musketry and/or artillery. This meant that in the whole game we only had 2 or 3 instances where musketry/artillery inflicted disorder, the majority of disorder results were caused by melee. We felt that this gave a better game, though perhaps we may remove the recovery roll (the extension of the elite unit bonus instituted for the Gloucester game link