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Nine wins on the trot for Walsall

Burton 29 - 36 Walsall

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2013 09:51am
St. Matthew's, Walsall
By Arnold Evans
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Walsall showed real battling qualities before securing their ninth consecutive victory at an unusually muddy Peal Croft.

They withstood early pressure and then scored a try with virtually their first piece of possession. The hard working Steve Halbert initiated the attack and then Rod Dickson made another surge before some delightful passing gave space for full back Chris Mould to touchdown. But for the next twenty minutes Walsall found themselves under relentless pressure.

The Burton team were fully committed to a run and support style of play and began to take advantage of some unusually weak Walsall tackling. During this time the hosts scored three tries. Centre Betty made a strong run before Tom Harris got the final touchdown. Two minutes later Darryl Banton finished off a good counter attack. Sam Benjamin then made a defence bursting fifty meter run for a superb solo effort score. Archer converted two and kicked a penalty. This gave Burton a 22-7 lead with still ten minutes left of the half.

Walsall, to their credit, came back strongly and during this period, established what proved to be a match winning lead. Forward pressure resulted in Weston kicking a penalty. Halbert,Mould and Crowhurst then helped to create the position for Walsall’s next score. A good drive from a lineout resulted in Halbert getting the final touchdown. The visitor’s next try also came from a lineout. Hughes won the ball on the Burton throw,Hickman and Benson made good ball carries before the Walsall backs put together another fine passing movement which resulted in a second try for Mould. Weston putting over the conversions despite the muddy conditions.

The visitors had more control during the second half, and extended their lead when centre Harvey Wootton made a forty five meter try scoring break. But Burton closed to within two points as No8 Dutton broke through a weak Walsall defence from a scrum. Walsall however secured the win when scrum half Pittaway found Jack Crowhurst with a neat pass. The young winger diving over for the crucial score.  The hosts still had time to push for an equalising score, but on this occasion the Walsall defence, with Hughes and Halbert in particular, were solid with their tackles and held on for the win.

No Midlands One West league matches for two weeks. So the year ends with three Staffordshire teams occupying the top three league positions. Lichfield have a comfortable lead, while Walsall are now challenging Burton for the play off place.

Walsall travel to Stafford next Saturday to play their Staffordshire Cup match. The game kicks off at 2pm.

Photo: File pic

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