Late Greenslade Try Wins it for Walsall
Stratford 7 Walsall 10
Walsall’s top try scorer Alex Greenslade produced a superb fifty meter touchline run which eventually saw him dive over near the corner flag for the match winning score. This try, with only five minutes left to play, gave the visitors their first ever league win at Pearcecroft.
It was a closely contested match throughout, but both teams will be disappointed at their failure to produce any great continuity in their play, as the game became a rather scrappy affair.
The hosts gained their only points of the game after only eight minutes. It was on their first foray into the Walsall twenty two, as they gained possession, kick ahead and some quick passing resulted in outside half Simon Brain going over near the posts. He also stepped up to put over the conversion.
The visitors put together some promising attacks, but possession was often wasted or lost. They did however mange to get their first score after fifteen minutes. They had carried the ball well but had lost possession deep in Stratford territory. The Walsall pack surprised their opponents at the resulting scrum and pushed them back and off the ball. No 8 Rod Dickson
reacted quickly and scooped up the ball and was through the Stratford defence in an instant for a well taken score.
The blustery wind made it difficult for both teams, and passes and kicks would often go astray. Indeed, the lineout proved to be a bit of a lottery at times. The hosts had a slight advantage during the first half, and had several periods of pressure in Walsall territory. But credit must be given for some terrific tackling by the visitors. Captain Steve Halbert set a good example. But praise must also be given to Andy Fitzgerald,Pete Fitzgerald,Jimmy Scott, Rob Tierney and Rod Dickson
. While Wootton and Potts in the centre proved difficult to pass.
It seemed that the visitors would get the breakthrough during the opening moments of the second half, as they produced a series of promising attacks. But once again position was lost, mainly because of a lack of support at the breakdown. They did have the greatest territorial advantage and should really have got their noses if front. But penalty kicks were missed and possession was lost during the final drive for the try line.
The winning try came from their willingness to run the ball out of defence. Merlin,Halbert, Andy Fitzgerald and Tierney had made some good ball carries and then the ball was moved to Wood, who found Pete Fitzgerald on his shoulder. The burly prop forward resisted the temptation to run from the half way line, and instead, threw a long pass to Greenslade on the left wing. Once the Welsh wizard had got some space, he was away on a mazy run which resulted in him scoring near the corner flag. The referee allowed another four minutes of play, which saw Brain trying to kick a difficult penalty to level the scores, and then another attack was repelled when replacement Hickman drove through the ruck and gathered the ball. A few more effective carries and the ball was put out of play to bring the game to an end.