Walker Scores Two for Walsall as they Overcome Veseyans
Walsall 23 Veseyans 13
Walsall finished their home league programme with, what was eventually, a hard-fought victory over their near neighbours. A good start by the hosts saw them awarded a penalty at the first scrum. The reliable boot of Roger Weston put over a well struck forty meter kick. The ensuing twenty minutes saw Walsall monopolise possession, but fail to press home their advantage. They created one opportunity when scrum half Pittaway gave Mike Benson a scoring pass, but unfortunately the ball was spilled. While on virtually their first visit to Walsall territory, Veseyans were awarded a penalty which Griffiths converted from forty meters. They were pressing again, only five minutes later, but the hosts responded with some quick passing. This resulted in a superb seventy meter run by Ethan Walker. The young winger beat five defenders as he crossed for a spectacular score which Weston converted. They should have added to their score, but, once again, they were guilty of kicking away their hard won possession. This tactic was even more dubious because their opponents were beginning to dominate the lineouts. Veseyans showed that they were quite confident in counter attacking off these kicks and they soon gained a penalty after an offside at a Walsall kick ahead. This time it was an easier thirty meter kick for Griffiths. The final minutes of the half saw the hosts display more urgency in their play with Dickson,Weaver and Hickman making good ground before the visitors were penalised at the breakdown. Weston’s twenty five meter effort gave his team a 13 – 6 advantage at the interval.
Walsall started to use their replacements after the interval with JB Lucak making his Walsall debut. The young backrow forward made an immediate impact as he broke through tackles before being stopped. The visitors desperate defence soon conceded a penalty which Weston had no trouble in converting. Lucak was involved again shortly afterwards. It was centre Rob Angell that made the initial break before linking up with JB. The flanker showed good speed before giving a well weighted pass to Walker, the Walsall try machine, who finished off from fifteen meters. Weston added the conversion. This, however, was to be the host’s last score with still a quarter of the game left to play. More replacements were made and this seemed to disrupt the Walsall pack in particular. They became less effective in the scrum and continued to be dominated in the lineout. The referee also penalised them at various situations which gave their opponents plenty of possession. They stretched the home defence on several occasions, but credit to Matt Wood and his players for showing some very determined tackling skills during this period. The visitors eventually gained their consolation score during the closing minutes. Scrum half Will Slattery capped an impressive display with a quick burst of speed for the touchdown near the posts with Griffiths adding the final points.