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Walsall Push League Leaders All the Way

Lichfield 29 Walsall 21

Last Updated: Oct 7, 2013 07:05am
St. Matthew's, Walsall
By Arnold Evans
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Walsall Push League Leaders All the Way

Lichfield   29     Walsall    21

Illness and unavailability had forced Walsall to make four changes during the Saturday morning. This included debuts for prop forward Tariq Tin and winger Dave Pitt. Also hooker Luke Pittaway made his first appearance for two years.

The hosts started at a furious pace with the whole team looking to maintain momentum by off-loading in most of the contact situations. No8 Sam Prior was always to the forefront and credit must be given to all the Walsall players on their very effective tackling. But their desperate defending resulted in penalties being conceded. Two kicks by Josh Massey gave Lichfield a 6 – 0 advantage after fifteen minutes. But a good attack off the restart saw Walsall eventually take the lead. The initial attack was stopped near their own tryline by Lichfield. The resulting lineout saw the home team win the ball, but fail to control possession. But Walsall’s hooker, Luke Pittaway, was quick to react, and he beat his opposite number, Clarke, to the ball and the touchdown. A fine touchline conversion by Roger Weston gave his team a 7 – 6 lead. The rest of the half saw the hosts continue to force the pace and only a fine covering tackle by Walsall’s captain, Steve Halbert, stopped another score. The visitors were struggling to gain possession and were always keen to capitalise on any Lichfield errors. Their plight, however, was not helped by a referee who allowed very little time for any advantage to materialise. The crucial next score came after the hosts had spilled the ball inside the opposition twenty two. But again Walsall were not given time to take advantage and resulted in Lichfield being awarded a lineout which saw them maintain possession with a strong try scoring drive. The hosts extended their lead at the end of the half with a score from a close range scrum. The start of the second half saw Lichfield cross for a try after just two minutes. Another strong drive from a lineout resulted in a try near the corner flag. But directly from the restart Walsall charged down the field and No 8 Daniel Simpson raced over for a try from twenty meters. Weston produced another superb touchline conversion to reduce the gap to seven points. The hosts extended their lead within five minutes, a controversial penalty, was quickly taken, and eventually a try was scored near the corner flag. As the game moved into the final quarter the visitors produced a couple of sweeping attacks. Strong runs by Mould,McGuirk,Benson,Dickson and Halbert took the ball up to the Lichfield line. A couple of well-timed passes created the gap for Weston to cut through for a try under the posts, which he converted. Lichfield were hit by a couple of injuries and were not so effective during these latter stages and it seemed that Walsall would gain a well-deserved bonus point – at least! But the referee, once again, showed inconsistency with his decision making, and another controversial penalty for obstruction saw the hosts gain the final score with a thirty meter penalty. 

Walsall will be keen to get back to winning ways when Malvern visit Delves Road next Saturday afternoon. 3pm kick off.

Photograph: File pic

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