Staffordshire Plate Final
Our U13s were in their first ever final against Eccleshall.
It seems like it was months ago that our boys secured their first ever competition final appearance with that win in grim conditions over Newcastle-under-Lyme, such was the fervent anticipation surrounding this game. Parents brought countless friends and family with them to support our team and provided a wonderful atmosphere which didn’t faze the players at all who – to a man – put in a display worthy of the occasion.
Right from the off the boys banished all memories of last week’s heavy defeat and hit the ground running. The combination of strong breakdown work and simple handling put Harry Bucknall in space and although he still had work to do, he was strong enough to take defenders over the line with him to open the scoring. With the restart secured, the boys soon put the opposition to the sword again with Ben Pitt darting through to score his first try of the day.
Each restart presented opportunities to have a run at the defensive line and the boys took each one gladly, constantly getting over the gain line to inch towards the next score. The third of the day came from Joe Pearce who picked up from the back of a scrum just inside their 22, sidestepped the covering defenders and scored in the corner. Our fourth came just before half-time and was the result of some well-timed passing from the back line, this time though no-one could get near Harry as he outsprinted the defence to score under the posts.
The half-time whistle was greeted by rapturous applause from our supporters which inspired the boys to continue in the same vein in the second half. A series of strong drives from the forwards created an overlap from which any one of four Walsall players could have scored and it was Cory Clarke-Selby who brushed off the covering defence to dot down beneath the posts. With an Eccleshall prop suffering with neck trouble and a replacement unavailable, an uncontested scrum under the posts saw Walsall awarded a penalty and Ben Pitt, having taken a quick tap, danced his way through to score his second try.
Each Eccleshall attack was thwarted by our determined and organised defence and following a turnover in their half, Ben Pitt lofted a kick over the top which was secured to provide yet another attacking platform. Again, the forwards kept the ball through a few phases and then simple passing fed Ben Pitt who gleefully completed his hat-trick. With the clock ticking towards full-time, Eccleshall broke away just inside the Walsall half and their number 5 had the try line firmly in his sights but a superb covering tackle from Joe brought him down some 10m short to the delight of the crowd.
The last few minutes witnessed Eccleshall do their utmost to get on the scoreboard but Walsall kept them at bay to run out convincing winners.
Thank you to everyone who came to support our team and see them win their first piece of silverware and for helping to make it a day that the boys will never forget.
Final score: Walsall 39 – 0 Eccleshall Barbarians
Match Day Squad: Forwards - Cory Clarke-Selby, Jamie Mallaband, James Rogers, Jake Mooney, Matthew Howell, Sam Wellings, Daniel Gilbert, Joe Pearce (Capt.); Backs – George Allbright, Ben Pitt, Alex Garton, Ted Parsons, Ben Stackhouse, Harry Bucknall, James Marris, Alex Butler, Kieran Higgins.