Walsall Struggle at Spartans
Spartans 27 Walsall 14
Walsall continued to produce some inconsistency in their early season games. The loss of players because of injuries is a major contributory factor. However, on this particularly occasion, they were forced to make four changes because of players being unavailable.
The reshuffled team were in contention for most of the game at Coppice Lane. They were also affected by some crucial referring decisions which resulted in opportunities being denied, or in scores for the opposition. Indeed, the first score of the game came after the referee was obviously unsighted as the ball was knocked forward in contact before the hosts burst through with centre Southall eventually securing the touchdown which Hardy converted. Walsall, however, levelled the scores after ten minutes as Matt James took good lineout ball before prop forward Simon Weaver drove over for the try. Full back Roger Weston then put over an excellent touchline conversion. The next score came midway through the first half as players from both teams piled into the breakdown, but it was the visitors that were penalised with Hardy adding the twenty five meter penalty.
It was Hardy who scored the next points as Walsall failed to maintain possession at the start of the second half. The Spartan’s fly half took a short pass before going over for the try which he converted. Ten minutes later Hardy added more points with a drop goal that crawled over from twenty meters. The game became rather disrupted during the next twenty minutes with both teams making changes, some of them because of injuries. This was until Walsall scrum half, Dean Ainger, brightened up the afternoon with a sizzling break that eventually resulted in lock forward Mike Benson going over for a try. Once again Weston put over a good conversion. The game was moving into the final five minutes and it seemed as if the visitors could make the perfect comeback. However, in an attempt to run the ball out of defence, they lost possession. This eventually led to a Spartans scrum near their opponent’s line. The hosts made a powerful drive and the referee decided that he should award a penalty try. This automatic seven points completed the scoring.