Red Card Ruins Game
Whitchurch 33 Walsall 3
This game seemed to be an even contest between two well matched teams – for seven minutes! It was then that Walsall flanker Jamie Hickman reacted to an elbow into his throat by throwing a wild punch. The referee then issued a yellow card for the original offence, but deemed Hickman’s action merited a sending off. Ironically, the Walsall flanker was making his first start of the season after a long term injury. Great credit has to be given to the visitors because they remained competitive throughout and did their best to provide the spectators with an entertaining encounter. But the handicap of only having two backrow forwards proved too great and they were exposed at times as the hosts scored five tries. Prop Gillespie scored an early try, but it was later in the half before the hosts added to their scores. Leighton kicked two penalties before winger Mee finished off well after a strong Whitchurch lineout drive. Walsall ensured that they had enough possession to mount a challenge and created scoring opportunities during the later stages of the half. Centres Clarke and Lay made good line breaks, while the forwards consistently made good ground. Indeed, a Weaver drive should have given his team a score,unfortunately Gozlikucuk lost control of the ball as he dived over the tryline. A Weston penalty gave his team some reward, but a counter attack from a weak clearance kick resulted in prop forward Hales breaking tackles before touching down. The hosts went through tackles on two more occasions and seemed certain to score, but two tremendous chase and tackles by flanker Jeffrey Williamson stopped these certain scores. Whitchurch added to their score as Leighton added a penalty and Brown converted a late try by lock forward Hollins.