Walsall 31 Old Halesonians 12
This game between two teams who are vying for third place in Midlands One West proved to be an entertaining spectacle from start to finish. The opening quarter of the game saw both teams run and handle the ball well and there were scoring opportunities for Walsall and Old Hales. But try scoring passes were dropped and both defences produced some try saving tackles. It was the visitors that got the first score just before the half hour as scrum half Whitehouse went over after his team produced some good support play. Full back Hooper added the conversion to give his team a 7 – 0 lead with half time approaching. But the hosts finished the half in determined mood and when prop forward Fitzgerald made a strong burst he was supported by his centre Roger Weston, who took the ball deep into Old Hales territory. Walsall secured a lineout position just ten meters out and a fine catch by No 8 Dave Merlin saw him eventually dive over near the corner flag.
The team started the second half in the same vein and Merlin and Fitzgerald were proving to be difficult to stop. An early score gave Walsall an ideal start. This time it was flanker Hickman that broke through three tackles as he covered twenty meters for an impressive score. Wood put over the conversion and he was in action again eight minutes later as centre Harvey Wootton made a strong run and when he was stopped the ball was moved quickly to Greenslade on the right wing to cross for a try.
Walsall tended to dominate for long periods and Old Hales found it difficult to cope with the strong running and support play of their opponents. Daniel Simpson, who was selected as a replacement for the injured Steve Halbert, revelled in this type of play and he either instigated or supported some powerful forward drives.The Fitzgerald brothers were always to the forefront,as usual and also credit to Simon Weaver. The young prop acquitted him self well in what was his first full game appearance for the Walsall first team. But the home backs also made a massive contribution, and it was Wood’s neat little chip ahead that helped to create the fourth try. Wingers Greenslade and Ingelmo were quick to pounce on the defender, they regained possession and hooker Jimmy Scott gathered the ball and dived over for the bonus point score.
The visitors to their credit came back strongly and once again Walsall had to produce some strong defending to keep them at bay. Eventually, with five minutes left, full back Hooper found enough space to score wide out. But the hosts finished the game in style, as some slick passing resulted in full back Chris Mould finishing off a piece of play that covered over sixty meters. Wood’s successful conversion was the last action of this entertaining encounter.