Barton Under Needwood 0 - 51 Willenhall
It was a great result for the first team to remain unbeaten this season and also not conceding a try again. Barton edged out Willenhall in a tight encounter at the start of last season so this was a chance for the squad to put a few wrongs right.
The game started with Willenhall on the back foot, conceding 4 penalties and Barton holding possession for 10 minutes. Willenhall regained composure and on 9 minutes, after good handling from the front row, Aaron Brownbill made a break and fed Greg Rhodes who went in at the corner. On 14 minutes, after some sloppy play, the ball was regathered with prop Jack Davis going in at the corner. 4 minutes later, winger Adam Cooper went in at the corner to extend the lead. On 24 minutes, some great phases of play lead to Aaron Brownbill bursting through to get a try of his own. On 32 minutes, Tim Rawlins hacked the ball forward with the result being a try in the corner for scrum half George Pearson. Just before halftime, centre Dan Nightingale went blind at the scrum to power over from 10 metres out.
In the second half, Willenhall continued to play positive rugby. On 54 mins a loose ball was regathered on our own 10 metre line. Progression up the pitch resulted in prop Jack Davis throwing an outlandish dummy before feeding winger Tommy Reynolds who jinked his way to the try line. Prop Josh Clewley, continuing the good work from the front 3, was awesome, leading from the front, making inroads into the Barton defence with the ‘great’ captain Ian Sidebottom leading the backrow. On 62 mins, with a scrum on their 22 metres, centre Brad Smith ran a great line to go in under the posts. Just before the final whistle, Dan Nightingale finished with the last try.
Another pleasing result for Willenhall, but as all good teams know, there are things to keep working on in training. The first team have a weekend off so will have 2 weeks to regather momentum.
Stoke 41 - Willenhall 29
The seconds made their trip to Stoke in buoyant mood following last week’s victory over Wolverhampton. They were facing a Stoke side who had previously beaten Wednesbury 36-0. In the warmup, it was clear that Stoke were going to give the ball plenty of air and that’s what they did. From the kickoff, Stoke spread it wide and nearly scored a try. With 4 first half substitutions taking place due to injury, Willenhall were unsettled and took a while to get into their stride. Tries were swapped between the 2 sides with Stoke going in at half time with a slender the lead.
The 2nd half started well for Willenhall with a try but complacency set in once again with Stoke scoring another long range try. This was the story of the match and was a major source of frustration - Willenhall continuing to hammer the Stoke line but not reacting efficiently to the counter attacking pace of the Stoke back line. The game was nicely poised when Adam Bond slotted over a goal to make it 34-29 but a try near the end sealed the match for Stoke.
Despite the defeat, Willenhall 2nds proved they have the size, skill and power but at times lacked some composure which lead to frustration. They will have learnt so much from this defeat and will look to regroup in 2 weeks time when they visit Gnosall.
Combined West Midlands 5 - 19 Rugeley
The ‘Famous Five’ of Webb, Ellis, Plant, Baggott and Griffiths made their way across to Bloxwich to form a combined Bloxwich-Willenhall-B’ham BaBas side to face Rugeley. Unfortunately, the game was abandoned on 70 mins when a Rugeley player sustained a leg injury. The lads ended up 19-5 down but finished the strongest team as it took most of the first half to gel as players got to know each other’s style. However, rugby was the winner today as it meant that everybody at the club who wanted to play but couldn’t make it to Stoke or Barton got much needed game time and can now challenge for a spot in the coming weeks (all 5 played only their first game of the season today due to recovering from injury or returning from prior commitments).
Mini and Junior roundup
The under 16s made the trip to Newcastle for their first league game with honours even at 22 all at the end of a pulsating encounter. After a fantastic win against Pinley last week, the u15s were defeated away at Lichfield. The u13s were also beaten but they all played really well. Many features of the game are still new to the u13s, who are playing well considering the short amount of time they have had to learn the new laws. The club’s youth teams continue to compete extremely well against clubs whose senior teams are in much higher divisions, with much bigger catchment areas. Well done everybody on a great start to the season.
Updated 16:34 - 16 Sep 2018 by Mark Austin