A perfect late summer scene greeted spectators from both clubs for the opening fixture of the season. Both teams were committed to entertaining attacking rugby but early season ‘ring rust’ combined with interpretation of the new laws meant that the first half was punctuated with mistakes. The first of which was from the young Wolves who tried running the kick off when a simple kick to touch would have been the answer to settle the team. Caldy recycled possession and after a couple of phases struck first blood to open the scoring with a converted try.
A strong Wilmslow pack was augmented by Adam Hewitt
and Alex Taylor, who the previous day had made his debut appearance in the first team. These two added strong running and were resolute in defence. The backs were boosted by the considerable quality and confidence of Max Smith and Jack Harrison
and with the imperious passing of scrum half Sean Street looked a threat all afternoon.
After Caldy’s early score, the Wolves pack were stung into action and Harry Jones finished off some good driving forward play, Ollie McCall added a penalty and then just two minutes before the break he made a searing run through the Caldy back row defence to stretch the Wolves half time lead, converting his own try.
Caldy made key changes at the break with a ‘sockless’ centre adding improved quality and composure to their play and they soon scored a second try to be just one point behind.
The Wilmslow pack roused itself again. The irrepressible Hewitt finished off a catch and drive and when Caldy conceded a further kickable penalty it looked all over but the Caldy side had other ideas. First their sockless centre finished off an excellent handling move and moments later another good piece of handling led to a try on the right wing and in the space of just three minutes it now looked all over for the Wilmslow boys.
Not a bit of it, recycled ball went to Max Harvey, who put the outstanding Sedbergh player Max Smith away. He’d stood out throughout the match and now he showed just why he’s on the North of England squad with a try under the posts. Ollie McCall then landed his third penalty to make the game safe.
Considered opinion from the rugby sages in the bar, although suitably encouraged by the result, felt that with sterner tests ahead, the key to their success this season will be the ‘decision making’. The team must learn to control the ball better, to cut out those mistakes which allow the opposition turnover ball and preventable scoring opportunities.