Red Cards Help Walsall Gain Vital Win.
Walsall 26 Vesyans 12
This game was evenly poised at 12 – 12 with a quarter of the game still to play. Walsall’s full back, Jack Crowhurst, had just made a try saving tackle near the corner flag. The host’s then won possession and moved play deep into Vesyans territory. During the next phase of play there was an altercation which resulted in a red card being issued to one of the visiting players. Soon afterwards the Walsall scrum powered forward towards the tryline, when it stopped the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try. Five minutes later Walsall’s opponents were reduced to thirteen players, as a second yellow card was shown to a Vesyans players. The hosts also lost a player to the sin bin, thus only giving them a slight numerical advantage.
Both teams had try scoring opportunities during the first half with both teams looking to run the ball. But a combination of good defending and poor handling resulted in penalties proving to be vital. A strong ball carry by Simon Weaver resulted in the first penalty just after seven minutes. Captain Roger Weston put the hosts ahead from twenty five meters. A spilled ball at the restart gave away possession and the visitors pressed forward and were awarded a penalty, which Matt Gillick put over from thirty meters. Gillick added another penalty six minutes later as Walsall failed to effectively defend a counter attack from seventy meters. Walsall,however, finished the half strongly and should have scored a try, but unfortunately the ball was spilled in the process of getting the final touchdown. Weston, however, levelled the scoring from the resulting penalty. There was still time for a restart and Vesyans, again secured possession and were awarded a penalty after an unnecessary infringement by a Walsall player. Gillick was on target to give his team a three point advantage at half time. Walsall had far more control of the game during the second half, but struggled to breakthrough a determined Vesyans defence. Weston made it 9 – 9 after just three minutes with a well struck forty meter penalty. But, once again, the visitors stormed back. Walsall were forced to reorganise their pack as a result of prop forward Liam Taylor being forced to leave the field because of an injury. It was not long before the visitors took advantage and were awarded a penalty as a result of their driving play. Gillick was again on target with his twenty five meter kick. This though would be the visitor’s final points of the match. Walsall began to put together some good attacks with a particularly effective piece of play saw George Perkins, Hal Gozukucuk and, the ever present, Matt James making a terrific break which, again, should have resulted in a score. But again, the ball was fumbled in the act of securing the final touchdown. This failed attack did, once again, result in a penalty, which Weston put over from thirty meters. The hosts were continually pressing forward, but a break out of defence by Watts looked as if fellow winger Fellows would score a vital try. But a terrific Crowhurst tackle saved his team. Walsall then camped deep in Vesyans territory and were firstly awarded the penalty try and then No8 Gozukucuk made a fine break before finding Dean Ainger in support. The ever alert scrum half raced away to score his sixth try of the season. Weston added a superb touchline conversion to complete the scoring.