Victory with final kick of the game
Wallingford sealed a hard fought victory with the final kick of the game away to Stow-on-the-Wold
Wallingford made the long journey to Stow-on-the-Wold for their first game in three weeks. In selection, Carl Tappin and Conner Murphy returned to the starting lineup whilst Max Suttner came in for Jack Edwards as Phil Dawes reverted to scrum-half.
The game kicked off with a strong cross-wind and light rain on a heavy pitch. With large patches of standing water down one side, conditions were going to be difficult for both sides.
Stow started the brighter and were soon on the scoreboard following a break down the right wing, the try converted (7-0). Wallingford looked to get back into the game immediately and soon found themselves in the Stow 22 following a penalty to touch before a driving maul took them up to the Stow line, only to be pulled down just short. From the penalty Wallingford pressured the line but eventually Stow managed to clear.
It was not long before Wallingford scored their first try though as a break and fly hack from Dan Sadler saw him make good ground before collecting to cross in the corner, Dawes missing the conversion (7-5).
Shortly after, both sides were reduced to 14 men following a bit of handbags and it was during this period Stow managed to apply some pressure as Wallingford fell foul of the referee, eventually crossing for an unconverted try (12-5).
With parity at scrum time and dominance in the lineout, Wallingford again returned up field and after several good driving phases, Sadler spotted a gap from the base of a ruck to cross, Dawes converting from out wide to bring the scores level going into half time (12-12) HT.
The second half was dominated by the referees whistle and errors from both sides as conditions worsened. Wallingford dominated possession and territory but could not turn pressure into points, having a try ruled out for crossing and failing to convert another couple of breaks as the Stow defence held firm. They were able to again take the lead with a Phil Dawes penalty though (15-12).
Into the final 15 minutes and a turning point in the game as Nathan Chapman was yellow carded for a second late hit of the game, allowing Stow to level the scores (15-15). With a man advantage, the pressure was on the away side but they continued to dig deep and hold Stow out.
As Chapman returned Wallingford again had a couple of chances which were not converted as the worsening conditions made handling very difficult. Into the final minutes and a knock on from Wallingford inside the Stow 22 looked to have sealed the game as a draw, however from the resultant scrum, the Stow flyhalf dropped the ball whilst looking to clear and with a player from an offside position gathering it, Wallingford were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Phil Dawes kicked to seal victory (18-15) FT.
Next week Wallingford travel to league leaders Beaconsfield for their re-arranged fixture.