Stoke too strong for a determined Walsall side.
Rustiness was always going to be an issue after six weeks without a competitive fixture and it unfortunately manifested itself in the first game.
Although the score suggests otherwise, the boys were competitive at the breakdown and dominated the scrum but it was the defensive form that was lacking. Walsall finished strongly, going close on two occasions but the five points eluded them. Final score 0-15.
The second of the two games saw Walsall start confidently and they pinned Stoke back near their line through sustained phases, using their larger pack to great effect. With the team now displaying a cohesive defensive game and playing the kind of attacking rugby they often display in training, the ball stayed alive and some fine link play from Cory Clarke-Selby, Jamie Mallaband and James Marris gained valuable territory. A strong carry from Sam Wellings saw the ball recycled quickly and James Rogers went over for the first Walsall try of the morning.
Impressive running lines from Ben Stackhouse and Alex Garton gained yet more ground and with relentless pressure culminating in a Walsall scrum only 5m from the Stoke line, Ben Pitt sniped around to dot down for a deserved score. Unfortunately, continued Walsall possession didn’t convert into further points and Stoke scored a breakaway consolation try to end the game. Final score 10-5.
Match-day squad: Cory Clarke-Selby (Capt), James Rogers, Joe Pearce, Jamie Mallaband, Daniel Gilbert, Ben Yau, Matthew Howell, Kyle Austen, Todd Langston, Will Fulford; (Backs) George Allbright, Ben Pitt, Ben Stackhouse, Alex Garton, Jake Mooney, James Marris, Sammy Gannon, Alex Butler, Sam Wellings, Harry Bucknall.