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1st XV - Match centre

Leek
Walsall
la 15 syys TBC - Midlands Division - Midlands 2 West (North) Full time

Injury Hit Walsall Team Struggle to Contain Leek

Leek 26 Walsall 7

Walsall travelled to North Staffordshire with a squad of players that was already depleted through injuries. Experienced players like Simon Weaver,Robert Angell,Matt James and Jack Crowhurst were all forced to miss this latest encounter. This would be a particularly painful experience for prop forward Weaver, being forced to miss only his third game of the last one hundred Walsall matches! Unavailability also deprived the Delves Road team of the services of Mike Lockett and JB Lucak. This meant that teenager George Green would make his first start, as did flanker Elliot Clarke. They faced a Leek team that had already secured a convincing win in their opening league game and will undoubtedly be pushing for promotion at the end of the season.
The hosts displayed great confidence during the first few minutes as they soon pushed forward deep into the Walsall half. The first try was scored after only five minutes. The Leek forwards carried strongly and the ball was released to their strong running backs. But a long pass was intercepted by Will Hennessey and the teenager then outpaced his pursuers over eighty meters to score a try which he then converted.
Superb defence saw the visitors maintain their advantage for most of the first half. But eventually the hosts piled on the pressure with prop forward Joe Taylor squirming over for the try which Sam Hunt converted to level the scores. The visitors could have added to their score just before the interval. No8 Hal Gozukucuk broke clear and had winger Jordan McColl in support. But the referee failed to apply any advantage and just signalled for a Walsall penalty!
It was a similar pattern to the game for most of the second half as the visitors continued to defend well and just try and launch attacks whenever they secured the ball. Fifteen minutes of the half had been played when a try from close range by scrum half Drew gave the hosts the lead with Hunt adding the conversion. This was added to seven minutes later as the Leek forwards retained possession until the ball was moved which resulted in centre Palmer crossing for a score near the corner flag.
Walsall suffered further injuries which resulted in all of their replacements being used with fifteen minutes still to be played. However, during this final period of the game, the visitors had several promising attacks with Nico Watkins,Jamie Hickman and George Perkins making decisive breaks. They were awarded several kickable penalties, but opted to go for the tries. The Leek defence stood firm and with two minutes left, winger Bulitautini, finished off a prolonged period of pressure with a try which Hunt converted.
Although Leek dominated possession, the Walsall team were competitive throughout and could have added to their final scoreline.

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC

Team selection

Naylor, Paul Naylor, Paul
Sayce, Brandon Sayce, Brandon
Watkins, Nico Watkins, Nico
Weston, Roger Weston, Roger
McColl, Jordan McColl, Jordan
Hennessy, Will Hennessy, Will
Ainger, Dean Ainger, Dean
Gozlikukuk, Halil Gozlikukuk, Halil
Clarke, Elliot Clarke, Elliot
Hickman, Jamie Hickman, Jamie
Perkins, George Perkins, George
Benson, Michael Benson, Michael
Weaver, Simon Weaver, Simon
Pittaway, Luke Pittaway, Luke
Poston, Dan Poston, Dan

League round up

Other Midlands 2 West (North) results

Ludlow
31
3
Veseyans
7
26
Wolverhampton

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
6. Crewe & Nantwich 10 25
7. Spartans (Midlands) 9 23
8. Newcastle (Staffs) 9 22
9. Walsall 10 19
10. Veseyans 10 12
11. Stafford 10 11
12. Telford Hornets 10 0

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