Points Galore at Delves Road

Walsall 45 Kenilworth 42

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2013 05:39pm
St. Matthew's, Walsall
By Arnold Evans
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This proved to be an enthralling contest between two teams who were committed to play attacking rugby at every opportunity. Kenilworth gained the early advantage, going 14 - 0 up, within eight minutes.

They secured possession off the kick off and eventually scrum half Renowden wriggled over from close range. The hosts fell further behind as they conceded penalties and their opponents took advantage to score off a lineout, flanker Gibson going over. Walsall then began to display their attacking potential as Simpson and Turner made strong runs, before Simpson got the final touchdown. They levelled the score after their backs ran and passed well before a Chris Mould pass sent centre Harvey Wotton on a twenty meter try scoring run.

But Walsall continued to be penalised and the visitors restored their lead with another try from close range. Lock forward Lane getting the final touchdown. Kenilworth’s kicker, Josh Hickman, produced a superb display of place kicking throughout the match. He put over his third successive touchline conversion and then, three minutes later, put over a thirty meter penalty to establish a 24 – 14 advantage. Walsall’s kicker, Roger Weston, was also on target with his attempts and three successive penalties made it 23 – 24 at the interval.

The hosts made the ideal start to the second half as the forwards made good ground then Mould and Weston linked up well before sending Wootton through for a fine try from twenty meters. But two successive penalties enabled the visitors to gain an attacking position deep in opposition territory. Another forward drive resulted in another try for Lane, and another touchline conversion from Hickman.

As the game was going into the final quarter Walsall produced a length of the field attack that resulted in a spectacular score. Andy Turner initiated the play with a run from his own try line. Good carries by Dan Poston,Wootton and Mould covered another fifty meters. Mould was stopped ten meters from the tryline, but once again Wootton was in support to cross for his third try. Weston’s conversion gave his team a 35-31 lead. But with less than ten minutes left to play there was still time for more drama in this see-saw contest.

A quickly taken penalty resulted in captain Creswell going over. Hickman’s conversion meant that the Warwickshire team had a three point advantage with five minutes left to play. The Walsall restart went deep into Kenilworth territory and then it was the turn of Walsall’s hooker, Alex Jones, to be a hero. He raced through and charged down the clearance kick before gathering the ball to score his first try for the club.

Weston stepped up and put over the difficult conversion. This seemed to have settled the game. But in an unbelievable final two minutes there were two more scores! The visitors were under pressure but managed to put in a hurried clearance kick, the Walsall defence stood still as the ball bounced and rolled towards their tryline. Eventually it was gathered by Chris Mould, but he was forced to concede a scrum. This gave the platform for No8 Thompson to pick up and barge over for a dramatic try. Hickman’s conversion, on this occasion, was just wide.

The final play of the game saw the home team regain possession from the kick off, then drives by Halbert, Simpson, Gauden, Fitzgerald and McGuirk took the ball into the Kenilworth twenty two. A drop goal attempt seemed imminent but the visitors, in their desperation, had strayed offside. Roger Weston showed a very cool temperament to put over the twenty five meter kick to bring this amazing game to an end.

Photograph: File Pic


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