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Walsall Win But Struggle to Dominate

Berkswell & Balsall 15 - Walsall 20

Last Updated: Sep 9, 2013 09:29pm
St. Matthew's, Walsall
By Arnie Evans
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Walsall opened their league campaign with a hard fought victory at Berkswell. Indeed, it was only in the final quarter that they managed to regain and extend their advantage.

The early exchanges suggested that this would be a comfortable win for the visitors as they established a 12 – 0 lead after just six minutes. The first score came as a result of the hosts being pushed off their own scrum ball on the halfway. No 8 Dan Simpson made a strong run and found Harvey Wootton in support. The Walsall centre finished off well from thirty five meters. Matt Wood added the easy conversion. The travelling supporters did not have to wait long for the next score. This attack covered over seventy meters after prop forward Russ Gauden dispossessed an opponent. A quick pass to Jack Crowhurst saw him make ground before he found Gauden in support. The ruck ball was moved wide with Max Hughes,Wootton and Chris Mould interchanging passes for over fifty meters before winger Geoffrey Williamson dived over near the corner flag for a superb try. It was obvious that the visitors were keen to produce this style of rugby but, unfortunately, they were guilty of wasting further opportunities. Possession was often kicked away or passes were not delivered.  Walsall were also heavily penalised for virtually the rest of the game and consequently struggled to gain possession.

The hosts put Walsall under pressure and retained possession well. They proceeded to score fifteen unanswered points. Captain, Waite, crashed over in the corner after a Walsall scrum spun round. Full back Lowden converted this try, kicked a penalty and also scored a try after a quickly taken throw in from the touchline. This gave his team a 15- 12 lead at the interval.

The second half turned out to be a scrappy affair with the referee’s whistle frequently halting play. This was often to the displeasure of the visiting contingent! But with the game entering the final quarter, Walsall’s scrum half Neil Pittaway scored the crucial try. He gathered a loose ball from a lineout and broke through the B’s defence and covered thirty meters to score a fine try. The hosts had further penalty opportunities, but it was Matt Wood who had the final score with a twenty meter penalty after six minutes of injury time. Another nine minutes of play gave the hosts further opportunities, but Walsall had done enough to get their season off to a winning start.

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