Dudley Kingswinford 31 Walsall 43
Great start, struggle, great start and struggle ! Match tempo of the day
Walsall travelled to DK today, as all other games it was a good game to watch. Chilly but dry, the pitch in excellent condition.
Walsall started well after only 5 minutes they pushed DK back towards their try line, outstanding link play at times through the Bandits midfield. Wave after wave of Walsall attack paid dividends when a well worked move with good handling saw Lewis Hawkins passed to Max Mason and Max passed to Raighne Hutchinson, who on his first game for Walsall scored a sublime try. He used great balance and power to go over under the posts for a well worked try. Converted by Tom Hale 0-7
DK pushed hard for a reply only to be stifled in midfield by good tackling and jackaling at the contact area. Walsall stole the ball 40 metres out and did what they do well and pushed forward with purpose to score their second team try after 10 mins.This move was a two pass slide to Max Mason, who took the ball at pace to out run the DK defence and place it down under the posts. Converted by Tom Hale 0-14
The restart saw more of the same, Walsall held tight at each contact area when DK attacked. Waiting for their moment to steal DK's ball. A tackle came in from Walsall, the second defender pounced and a text book tackle & jackal was seen by all. Walsall pushed hard through phase after phase, pushing DK on the back foot. Another two pass slide gave Max Mason space and time to think which path to take, he had made his mind up and took the direct approach with foot work and gas to burn. Finally breaking two tackles to go in under the posts. Conversion by Tom Hale 0-21 after 18 mins.
After a determined run Max Mason took a heavy tackle from two DK players, which Max had to leave the field as a precaution as we have a semi final next weekend. Momentum slowed down after the substitution.
Well the tide turned shall we say. Walsall hit the "relax and switch off mode " button, allowing DK to out ruck and out run Walsall to make their mark in the game. The last ten mins saw DK use good quality ball to maximum effect scoring 3 tries of their own, converting 2 of the 3. To be fair it was what DK deserved out of the first half as Walsall got sloppy in all departments.
Half time DK 19 Walsall 21 A close call. Several team changes made at half time.
The second half kicked off like the first, Walsall took 2 mins to score again with a set play from midfield Joel Pepper supplied a quick delivery to Raighne Hutchinson ( who was now playing at 10 ) to power around the defence and use pace and balance to score on the right hand side of the posts. 19-28 Walsall. Converted by Fin Gibbons.
DK kicked off Walsall returned it with a good forwards run up the right hand side, setting up a ruck with forwards pods out to the left. They were used to good effect, then Walsall spilled the ball backwards it was fly hacked forward by Joe Birch who was working really hard to out pace the DK defence. It paid off for him as he gathered the loose ball to crash over on the far left side. Conversion missed.
DK kicked off again collected by a forward running at pace to make good yards, off loading with one hand ( training paying off ) pushing up towards DK's 10 metre line. A well measured pass again from Joel saw a gap open up for Raighne Hutchinson to exploit a small defensive hole and power through and around the DK back line to score in the far right hand corner. Try number 3 for Raighne. 19-38 Walsall.
The Walsall "relax and switch off mode" button was pressed again and after 20 mins of good pressure and aggression by Walsall all became undone like a badly knitted woolly jumper. DK saw the identical weakness shown in the first half and used it again to full effect scoring 2 more tries converting one. 31-38 Walsall.
After a stern talking to the team under the posts the last 5 mins were a little different shall we say. Walsall kicked off and pushed the attacking line so much they struggled to find room to move on to the halfway line, Walsall tackled then stole a quick ball pushed out from Joel Pepper to Raighne Hutchinson who pushed his self to out run 4 DK defenders on curved slide run to power around the back line defence to score. 31-43 Walsall
Final score 31-43 A very hard fought game. Closer than it should have been but its a win.
Many thanks to DK for the game, Andy and his team have a very good squad developing together. See you next season !
We were outstanding at times today, mainly at the start of both halves. The "job done" attitude was on display a little today as Walsall let the swing of power slip twice.
Welcome to new players today, Sam Wilkes and Raighne Hutchinson ( 4 tries well done ) . Hope you both enjoyed your first game for the team.
Welcome back from injury Liam McDermott.
A good team effort, remember work hard, play easier !!!!!
We wish Lewis Hawkins, Oliver Topham and Hiwa good luck as they have an important semi final fixture next Sunday at Saracens for their school team. ( Bishop Vesey )
Don't forget Walsall has a semi final of our own next Sunday at home against Tamworth. See you all next week.
Rob & James