C&N Forwards Too Strong
Crewe & Nantwich 38 Walsall 18
This was another battling performance by the Walsall squad. They were always chasing the game, but they displayed some of their best running and support plays of the season. Although they were outscored by six tries to two, Walsall, however, missed two try scoring opportunities and made a couple of errors that resulted in scores. This ultimately was the difference between both teams in what was an entertaining encounter in the Cheshire countryside. Fullback Roger Weston
scored all of Walsall’s points as he put over two difficult penalties, a conversion and crashed through for two tries. It was the forward power of the hosts that made the difference as their short driving play and their lineout superiority accounted for all but one of their tries. They crossed within five minutes as they set up their first score off a series of drives off a lineout. The visitors came back strongly and a good ball carry by flanker Gozukucuk set up some good inter play. This resulted in a penalty which Weston converted from forty five meters. Walsall were soon on the attack a few minutes later, as Dave Pitt, Weston and Mould combined to create a try scoring opportunity. Unfortunately the ball was spilled close to the try line. The hosts retaliated immediately as the dangerous Ward broke out of defence. The full back made fifty meters before the attacked was stopped. Walsall seemed to have saved the situation as Fearnhead raced back to clear. The speedy winger’s run to clear the ball was hampered however, as a clear ‘football style’ tug of his shirt was missed by the referee! The hosts soon pounced on the ball to secure the score. There was no doubt however about the home team’s next score as they drove the Walsall scrum backwards and then kept possession for twenty meters for the try. Good carries by Gozukucuk and hooker Jones resulted in another successful long range penalty kick by Weston. The visitors finished the half strongly with Williamson, Pittaway, Mould and Pitt linking together well before being stopped close to the opposition’s try line. The second half started badly for Walsall as the hosts scored from the midfield scrum immediately after the kick off. The visitors responded positively with Gozukucuk, James,Weaver and Williamson making the initial bursts before the three quarters continued the attack. Centres Clarke and Pitt made good breaks and timed their passes well as the ball reached Weston. The full back then broke through the cover defence and touchdown under the posts for a superb try which he converted. The hosts looked to hit back immediately as the ball was moved wide after a lineout. Winger Hutchings looked to be away for another score, but Weston was again called into action with an excellent tackle by the corner flag. The next score was going to prove vital as Walsall began to display more confidence in all of their attacks. Yet more lineout possession for the hosts resulted in a close range scrum, which resulted in a penalty try for the Cheshire team. During the last fifteen minutes the visitors looked to attack at every opportunity and they were rewarded with another super score. It was Williamson’s forty meter run that instigated the play. The ball was then run and passed accurately by Mold,Clarke,Dave and Connor Pitt before Weston made the final try scoring burst. Another try scoring chance was created a few minutes later. This time Weston was the villain as he failed to deliver the final try scoring pass. Walsall’s attacking intent became unstuck as the hosts turned over possession at a lineout and started a drive that resulted in a try. The final few minutes saw a debut for Walsall’s young flanker Elliot Clarke
. The game came to an end with Walsall’s Fearnhead making a forty meter run which resulted in him being tackled into the corner flag. Credit must be given to two teams who produced a good game of rugby in the most testing of conditions.