More Disappointment at Delves Road
Walsall 24 Whitchurch 37
Walsall’s recent poor form continued with this second successive home defeat. These performances are in stark contrast to their record breaking run during the middle of the season when they secured ten successive victories. They did, however, make a positive start against their Shropshire opponents and showed glimpses of their attacking capabilities with three well created tries. The opening minute saw No8 Dickson make a good run which was well supported by Weston and Wood. This eventually led to a penalty which Weston dispatched from twenty five meters. The hosts attacked immediately from the restart and good passing put Fearnhead clear for a forty meter run. But the Whitchurch scrambled defence managed to clear their line. But the errors of the previous week were soon evident again with possession being lost rather too easily. Whitchurch took the lead after seven minutes as they pounced on a loose ball and quick passing resulted in winger Skone crossing near the corner flag. The hosts hit back within two minutes as strong pressure resulted in Matt Wood intercepting a pass and going over for Walsall’s first try. The home team were coping quite well with the blustery conditions. While the visitors tried their hardest to take advantage of the strong wind. Eventually, Whitchurch managed to pierce the home defence on two more occasions during the first half. Lineout possession resulted in Skone crossing for his second and No 8 Bucknall was driven over just before the half time whistle. The opening ten minutes of the second half proved to be crucial, as Walsall failed to secure possession or conceded penalties which resulted in further pressure. The visitors scored two tries during this period as Bucknall went over for his second and hooker Charlesworth supported well to go over near the corner flag. Full back Chris Mould gave the home team a much needed boost with a fine solo run for a try from thirty meters. But the visitors made the game safe with a length of the field counter attack which resulted in Skone touching down for his hat trick. Nicholas converted two of his team’s tries and also kicked a late penalty. Mould and Pittaway made good runs late in the game for Walsall which helped to create a try for centre Jack Crowhurst. While Roger Weston continued to display some good kicking skills converting all three scores as well as the penalty. But, crucially, the hosts, once again, failed to take advantage of further try scoring opportunities and were guilty of some poor, and unusually lax defending. Injuries and unavailability meant that Walsall had to reorganise their team and this seemed to affect their usual fluency. They failed to contain a Whitchurch team that were intent on attacking at every opportunity. They produced some good phases of play with some very effective offloading skills to secure a comfortable victory.