Walsall Suffer Problems at Leek
Leek 65 Walsall 8
Walsall’s journey to North Staffordshire proved to be a disastrous event. The team’s recent success gave cause for optimism from players and supporters. But the unavailability of key players had forced the management to make three late changes. This disruption didn’t seem very evident during the first five minutes as the visitors gained possession and pressed forward. But as a scoring opportunity seemed to be created Walsall lost possession, and this seemed to set the pattern for most of the game. Leek kicked the ball down the field, Walsall failed to gather the ball and winger Palmer went over for the first of his three tries. They added another try after a lineout drive before Weston put over a penalty for Walsall. Another downfield kick gave the hosts the next score followed by two more scores as they turned over possession at a scrum and lineout. During, a surprising seven minutes of extra time at the end of the half, Leek capitalised on Walsall mistakes and grabbed another couple of scores. A 40 – 3 interval scoreline suggest that it could be an embarrassing second half for the visitors. But the team deserved praise and not criticism during this half as they dominated for long periods despite only having fourteen players on the field throughout the half. Injuries to prop forward Taric Tin and hooker Alex Jones
had forced them to leave the field. The game, therefore, had to have uncontested scrums, but , according to league rules, Walsall would not be allowed to use their remaining replacement. This farcical scenario did not deter the visitors and they produced several good attacks with Dave Pitt and Paul Naylor going close to scoring. Prop forward Simon Weaver
secured a late consolation score. This, however, was after the hosts had broken away to score three tries and a penalty.