Luke Chapman Memorial Tournament
A Festival Of Rugby Played On A Fine Sunday Day.
Walsall were honoured to play in this traditional U15's tournament. There were 6 North Mids teams, 1 touring team and 1 Staffordshire team ( Walsall )
On the whole in periods of the tournament Walsall played some really good rugby today, which granted them the right to be there. They took part in 3 group games, the semi final of the Plate and the the final of the Plate. Narrowly losing out against Stourbridge 2 tries to 0
The first group game was against Telford, at team which Walsall have never played before. Telford started the better team scoring early catching Walsall half asleep. This forged a fighting come back were there was some great controlled aggression on the attack. Especially Arnold Adaai , who had the best game of his season today. They finished the better team but no try to show for hard work. Also Walsall lost Liam McDermott with a knee injury, get well soon Salmon ! After the break Walsall started well and scored first through good forward thrusts up the field doing what Walsall done best, keeping the ball and recycling fast ball for Joe Birch to score after great link play through 6 pairs of hands. Unfortunately Telford scored 2 more tries.
Walsall 1 Telford 3
Next game Walsall v Old Hales
Old Hales had some big lads in their team today, and used them to good effect, Walsall spent most their time defending and feeding on turn over ball and scrum ball won against the head. It was used to good effect exerting pressure on Old Hales but the ruck area was lost too easy and Old Hales used it. They ran in the first try. Walsall then fought back and pushed all the way up to the Hales 5 metre line earning a penalty, which saw Joe Birch take it an crash over to score. Joe took a knock scoring and came off. For 2 mins Walsall were down to 14 players as the ref played on after asking to sub Joe. They held Hales well until they used the advantage well and scored. Walsall lost their shape for a while and worked well but couldn't stop a stronger, more aggressive team from scoring 2 more. The was good team defending but not enough fire power in attack.
Walsall 1 Old Hales 4
Next Game Walsall v Dudley Kingswinford
This game the player were tired but played some really good defensive patterns and even better attacking power when needed. Walsall worked hard and handling and position play used to good effect. Several sets of great one handed off loads made viewing from the sideline, ending in a good team try finished by Joe Birch. Then the best team try of the pool games was scored when the ball went through at least 8 pairs of hands, each pass was taken at pace. This move was rounded off by Tom Hale.
After half time Walsall carried on working hard but didn't manage to score any further tries. The defence was better but they lost the ball out wide due to a lack of concentration and DK scored.
Walsall 2 DK 1
Next game Plate Semi Final Walsall v Malvern
This was played on a very boggy pitch unlike the last three games. The game was too a good standard considering the surface was far from great. Handling and continuous phase play was at times very good. The play was stopped on occasions for strange reasons but there we go. Walsall seemed to dominate the first half , saying that there were a few scares. The killer move came after great work from forwards and backs keeping the ball in hand, supporting really well .Walsall's try came from Tom Harris after Walsall made good yardage up the left side creating continuity using the quick off load, the final pass went to Tom to use pace and balance to score from 20 metres. After half time Malvern seemed to push on for the equaliser. It took Malvern 6 mins to equalise from a gap that opened up in Walsall's pillar defence, which we work on every week. So to see a try given away so easily stung a little.
Walsall 1 Malvern 1. Walsall went through to the final on tries scored.
Walsall v Stourbridge.
Walsall played Stourbridge last week and Stour seemed to work better than last week. Their plan was scripted and Walsall failed to pick up on this. To be brutally honest Stour wanted it more than Walsall did in the final. They were more aggressive at the phased contact area, they tackled and jackalled to great effect. Scoring 2 tries and winning the tie on turn over ball . Well done Stourbridge.
At times Walsall played good spectator pleasing rugby when aggression and commitment was shown by the whole team. At times though we were pedestrian and found wanting, better commitment and team work is needed. Not all bad though 3rd season drawing to a close and you have grown and developed well. 6 players are playing club rugby for their first season. So well done.
Once again thanks to fellow coach James Topham for running the touch and shouting words of praise.