WALSALL IMPROVE BUT NOT ENOUGH
Walsall 29 Crewe & Nantwich 40
A Walsall team, after their heavy defeat in their first league game, showed seven changes for their first match of the new season at Delves Road. This ‘new team’ produced a vastly improved performance and showed that they are capable of achieving some better results in their forthcoming matches.
Even this match could have resulted in a closer score because both teams scored four tries. But the Cheshire team had an outstanding kicker, in Jamie Little. The centre three-quarter was successful with all of his kicks. He converted, from difficult positions, all four of his teams tries and also kicked three penalties and a drop goal. He opened the scoring with an early penalty and converted a try by full back Baldwin. A Rob Angell penalty opened the scoring for Walsall after centre Roger Weston
had made a superb catch from a high kick. The host then levelled the scores after twenty minutes with a spectacular try. It came as a result of a counter attack from deep in their own half. The diminutive figure of winger Richard Fearnhead set off on a jinking, sixty meter run that saw him beat five defenders before passing to lock forward Mike Benson to go through for the try near the posts. Jack Crowhurst
added the conversion. Five minutes later the Walsall pack were in the same area of the pitch driving the ball forward after a lineout. The ball was released and fly half Angell showed great strength to break through the defence for a score under the posts. Crowhurst added the conversion to give Walsall a 17 – 10 lead. Further pressure created scoring opportunities for the hosts, but vital passes were either not delivered or went astray and the chances were missed. The visitors, however, established their match winning lead just before half time. Little kicked a penalty as Walsall conceded possession at the restart. It was a similar situation five minutes later as the hosts failed to maintain possession as they were mounting a promising attack. The loose ball was gathered and after an exchange of passes, winger Spibey ran in a try from fifty meters.
Two converted tries early in the second half saw Crewe & Nantwich extend their league. They scored the first after they set up a counter attack with flanker Hull breaking through Walsall tackles for the try. It was replacement Sproston that scored the next after some good support play. Walsall continued to threaten during the last quarter with the backrow of Matt James
,Jeffrey Williamson and debutant Reece Bennett very evident. It was No8 Williamson that got Walsall their third try as he broke away from a forward drive to secure the touchdown. A Little penalty helped to settle the nerves of the visitors. But a fine counter attack gave the hosts their bonus point try. Full back Chris Mould made good ground before passing to John Josh Williams. He showed great speed and determination to go through for a try on his debut for his new club. Weston’s conversion closed the gap, but a Little drop goal during the closing minutes was to be the final score of an entertaining encounter.