Walsall Deserve More at Bournville
Bournville 11 Walsall 6
This game, played at a windswept Rowheath, was a fine example of two evenly matched teams, who were fully committed to their respective cause. The fact that there was only one try scored in the match reflects, to a certain extent, the defensive qualities of both teams.
The strong wind that blew down the pitch, suggested a game of two halves . But, this was a game of end to end action, with a great deal of quality rugby.
The visitors started in determined mood, and were soon exerting pressure on their opponents. Bournville were forced to concede a penalty, and up stepped outside half Matt Wood to put over a superb forty five meter penalty after just two minutes. Immediately from the restart Walsall pushed forward again, and this time the referee decided that the hosts were deliberately infringing in the tackle area and issued a yellow card. Wood put over the resulting penalty to give the visitors a 6 – 0 lead after just five minutes. During the rest of the half it was very much the same pattern, with the Walsall forwards looking to drive their opponents back in the scrums and in the loose play. The Walsall backs carried the ball well, and kept up a strong defensive work rate. But, crucially, they failed to put in the final try scoring pass and consequently, scoring opportunities were missed. It was late in the half before the hosts got their score, when outside half Alex Warner put over a penalty.
The second half started badly for Walsall, as they lost their powerful winger, Andy Turner with a serious arm injury during the first few minutes. Bournville soon gained a good attacking position, and they eventually managed to create some space for Adam Coniff. The former Walsall winger ran in a good try from thirty meters. Although, the visitors seemed to have a just case in complaining that their tacklers were being obstructed. The next ten minutes saw Walsall produce a sustained period of pressure, instigated by a fine break by centre Tom Emes. It was Wood, who had a fine game, who decided to run the ball out of defence. When the ball reached Emes, he showed tremendous acceleration to make another forty meters before kicking the ball ahead. He was quick enough to gather the ball, but was tackled just short of the Bournville line. Although they did not get a try, they were awarded a penalty soon afterwards. Unfortunately, Wood’s effort from wide out, was just wide of the target. The only other score of the game was another Warner penalty from thirty meters. The final ten minutes of the game saw the Walsall players produce some of their most committed and free flowing rugby of the season. But they just could not find a way through for what would have been a deserved score. But the whole team have to be commended for their performance against a team that contained several players who played semi- professional rugby last season.