Walsall win despite mistakes

Walsall 22 Malvern 11

Last Updated: Oct 13, 2013 04:22pm
St. Matthew's, Walsall
By Arnold Evans
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Walsall will be pleased at gaining vital league points. But they will be disappointed that so many errors were made and that scoring opportunities were regularly squandered.

Indeed, apart from the victory, the team produced a far more satisfying performance against league leaders Lichfield on the previous Saturday.

It was a rather damp and breezy day at Delves Road, but there was plenty of action to entertain the sizeable crowd. The hosts threatened during the early stages with Benson, Simpson and Halbert all making strong runs towards the Malvern line. But already the players were guilty of losing control of the ball in contact and during the open field field play. The visitor’s tactic of kicking deep into the opposition territory set up the first try of the afternoon. A quickly taken throw-in and a couple of passing exchanges resulted in hooker James Swain going over near the corner flag. The hosts hit back immediately as lock forward Mike Benson gathered the restart kick and made good ground towards the Malvern twenty two. Desperate defence saw the visitors concede a penalty which Walsall’s Roger Weston converted from thirty meters. The game continued with the hosts dictating the play but continuously losing possession. A particular period of play saw Walsall create three clear cut scoring chances in quick succession. Connor McGuirk went close and then Chris Mould and Daniel Simpson were held up over the tryline. The half came to a close as the visitors took advantage of another Walsall fumble and continued to press until they were awarded a penalty which Mustoe put over to give his team a 11 – 3 advantage at the interval.

The second half saw Walsall go on the attack straight from the kick off and an early try scoring opportunity was created but the final pass was spilled. Eventually, the hosts got their first try after McGuirk and Halbert had put their opponents under pressure. The attempted clearance kick was charged down and gathered by the ever alert Neil Pittaway. The Walsall scrum half dived over near the corner flag. Unbelievably, they added to their try tally immediately from the kick off as Gauden caught the kick and made good ground. Pittaway put in a well-placed kick which was gathered by Weston. He then delivered a well-timed pass to Dave Pitt. The speedy winger quickly covered thirty meters for his first try for Walsall. Roger Weston then gave his team a two point lead with an accurate conversion. Malvern came back strongly and the hosts had to do some desperate defending for the next ten minutes. Indeed, the issue of a yellow card to lock forward Mehmet Vardarcik, meant that his team had to finish the game with fourteen players. But they produced some good rugby during this period and built up some real momentum with some powerful scrums and driving lineout play. A strong scrum gave them the platform for their third try as Andy Fitzgerald was driven over from five meters. Another excellent conversion kick by Weston sealed the win. The hosts went all out for the bonus point try, and indeed the chance was created. Unfortunately the ball was spilled and the final whistle was blown.


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