Vince Lombardi, the great American Football coach, used to say “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”
The Wolves had obviously heeded this warning, as they ran rampant against second-placed Liverpool St. Helens at Pownall Park, running out winners by 29-10.
Eschewing the normal one hour warm-up, they saved their energy for the game and from the start, tore into the visitors; shoving them backwards in the scrums, monopolising the line-outs and generally taking the game to them. It has been as long time since Wilmslow started in such a fashion and the sun-baked supporters were voluble with their appreciation. It seems that having lost narrowly away at Moss Lane, having been the better side and having had two perfectly good try opportunities disallowed by the referee, the players were determined to make amends.
The win eased their relegation worries and moved the Wolves up a place and, more importantly, to eight points more than Wigton, Anselmians and Broughton Park, with three games to go. Should they win just one of the next two games, they can not be caught and can travel to Broughton Park for the last game of the season with no pressure on them.
If they play as they did on Saturday, they will win all three games.
The pack were superb and, in the line-out, Mike Clifford and young Ben Jones
were dominant, whoever had the throw-in. Ben, sadly, somehow managed to dislocate and break one of his toes and will miss the rest of the season. What happened to the leather boots, with strong toecaps! The defence, too, was excellent, with very few missed tackles and turnover ball.
Tries were scored by scrum-half, Andy Walker, who burst from a maul near the Liverpool line after great work from the pack had moved play up the field; Bob McCallum, who, spotting a gap, made a fine break and ran to the line. Bob converted both these tries but failed with another when wing Tom Rayner scored far out after some classy passing by the backs. This made the score 19-3 at half-time.
The second half continued much as the first, until a dropped pass in midfield led to a L.St.H. try under the posts, which they converted to bring the score back to 19-10; too close for comfort.
Wilmslow, however, continued to dominate and a great move by the backs from yet another line-out steal would have led to another try, but for a deliberate knock-on and a penalty. Bob kicked the goal to put the lead back to twelve points. Finally, a great take in our own twenty-two by full-back, Matt King, who then ran through half the visitors side and slipped the ball to Mike Clifford and the backs to Matt Jones on the right wing. He stepped on the gas in some style and rounded the opposition defence to score. The try was converted by Andy Walker to put the home side out of range, 29-10.