Wotton Waltzes Over for Winner
Lichfield 24 Walsall 25
Walsall and Lichfield have been involved in two incredible league games this season. It was 27 – 28 at Delves Road last October. While last Saturday a Harvey Wotton try and a Matt Wood conversion, in the seventh minute of injury time, gave Walsall a one point victory at Cooke Fields.
The visitors had the best possible start as they launched a sweeping attack directly from the kick off. Outside half Matt Wood moved the ball wide and centre Roger Weston and winger Paul Naylor made good ground before the latter popped a short pass to Daniel Simpson. The lock forward showed some good acceleration to race over from twenty five meters.
Walsall produced further similar attacks, and should have added to their score. Nick Field, Pete Fitzgerald and Alex Greenslade were all involved in promising forays deep into Lichfield territory. But the team had to be content with a Wood penalty, making it 8 – 0 at the interval.
It was a similar pattern at the start of the second half with Walsall pressing but not taking advantage of the scoring opportunities that they were creating. The hosts had no option but to try and attack from deep in their own half, and they did this very effectively through outside half Massey and centre Tom Adams. A neat chip and chase gave winger Brear a try, and then two minutes later another sixty meter attack saw flanker Burton cross wide out to make it 10 – 8. But with the game going into the final quarter the visitors regained the lead as some quick lineout ball was moved quickly by Wood. It reached centre three-quarter Wotton who proceeded to jink and break through tackles to score near the posts. Wood’s conversion made it 15 – 10 to Walsall. Five minutes later Adams sliced through some feeble Walsall tackles and ran over sixty meters to score a try which Massey converted, thus giving the hosts a two point lead. It was apparent that the Walsall defence were struggling to contain their opponents and with three minutes left of normal time scrum half Cotterhill supported well and ran in Lichfield’s fourth try. Rose converted to make it 24 – 15. Time was running out as Simpson made another forty meter run which resulted in Wood kicking a penalty to close the gap to six points. It seemed that Steve Halbert’s team would have to be content with a losing bonus point, until the final play of the game deep in injury time. Walsall kept the ball in play, and some good passing saw the ball reach Wotton. The young centre repeated his earlier feat as he again brushed aside tacklers to score a try near the posts. The successful conversion was made by the reliable boot of Matt Wood, thus bringing an end to another Walsall cliff hanger of a game