Clee Hill 8 - 42 Willenhall
The firsts made the 80 mile round journey to Clee Hill. Despite beating Bloxwich 65-5 last week, the coach and players were somewhat despondent, conceding the first try of the season and not converting more chances into tries. Harsh or high standards? If we are to get promoted at the first chance, meeting high standards consistently will be the only way. Today, the coach and players were far happier. Coach Gavin Jones said, “We have really worked hard the last few weeks on our defence, and I have to say, today it was outstanding! They threw everything they had at us through the short channels, we absorbed their pressure resulting in several turn overs and only once in the 80 minutes did they manage to breach our line. Our off loading was great, we pressed and drifted well. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better day at the office.“
After a few penalties were converted, hooker Luke Marrocco broke the deadlock on 22 minutes with a try that was successfully converted. Winger Sam Hickman then powered over to make it 18-0, taking the game to the half time whistle. Shortly after the restart, Clee Hill showed the ultimate respect to Willenhall by going for goal after a penalty - a sign that they were finding it difficult to breach the Willenhall defence with the ball in hand. A spree of 3 tries in 9 minutes from Reynolds, Smith and Sidebottom pushed Willenhall out of sight to 35 points to 3. It was only in the last 10 minutes that the Shropshire men managed to breach the Willenhall try line before Chris Grantham finished the game off with a try on the full time whistle.
So, the boys have conceded just the 2 tries in 4 league games. We’ve certainly set our standards high which are bound to be pushed to the limits when we welcome near neighbours Essington in 2 weeks time on derby day.
Willenhall 2nds 18 - 34 St Leonards
Our 2nd team had a much closer affair against the men from St Leonards in Stafford. St Leonards are a much rejuvenated club this season following their move to their new ground at Doxey. In times when some clubs are struggling with participants, it is great to see rugby in Staffordshire thriving with a club rebuilding on their own foundations. On paper, Willenhall’s side was definitely strong enough to take the spoils today. We welcomed some old faces back to the club who made a great deal of difference but some crucial injuries to forwards meant some chopping and changing which obviously resulted in some disruption. The game to-ed and fro-ed but St Leonards just had the edge with some expansive rugby which took its toll.
Willenhall 3rds 41 - 5
The 3rd team had their first outing of the season. A few of the boys have been plying their trade with our good friends Bloxwich and Birmingham Bar Bars over the past few weeks so it was amazing that they got the chance to pull on the red of Willenhall again. Ticking off of the troops in the clubhouse had us down to 13.5 men with some withdrawals due to injury before the match - this left us with a lightweight but mobile pack. The late arrival of Cos Louca and then Craig Jones after the KO gave us the full compliment. The match began with Telford starting the brighter. However, winger come flanker Ellis was a terrier around the rucks, sweeping up the loose balls and eyeing the gaps in the Telford defence. Geoff ‘The Salmon’ Leo, Dunkley and Fergus were immense in the lineouts and Skipper Webb lead the pack from the front. Birch was also his usual self, charging into the Telford defence like a battering ram. After trading attacks, it was Willenhall who scored first with a quick tap try from Foreigner. A period of untidy rugby from both sides was followed by another 2 tries from Willenhall (Davis and J Allen) with the backs starting to take control. Nick Allen thought he had escaped to the touch line for a breather shortly before halftime but had to be dragged back on with C Reynolds having to depart the field instead. Some rejigging was needed at half time with 0.5 man Austin dashing to the SnowDome to watch some swimming (ed - Lilly was amazing, winning both races). The boys continued their dominant play up the hill in the second half, stretching the lead further to 41 points, conceding just the one try despite being down to 14 players for most of the second half and down to 13 at one point.
Yes, a bit of a light hearted report for this game and a bit of a scratch team, but it is testimony to the lads who stuck a shirt on for the Willenhall cause that they got the result they fully deserved. It must be noted, that if we were following last season’s rules with regards to substitutes, we may have had 4 or 5 substitutes today with another 5 or 6 players injured who would have been on the sheet. A really enjoyable game for the 3rds with many more, hopefully, to come. A big shout out for the return of Fergus, Carr, Davis, Louca, Corns, Jones and J Allen who will no doubt be pushing for a shirt in the squads in the coming weeks. Cheers fellas.
(BTW, for the prop forwards out there, the “55 great reasons” refers to the number of Seniors we had playing today).
#Willenhall #WillenhallRugby #GoodTimes
Updated 21:48 - 8 Oct 2018 by Mark Austin