Five ways made it three wins on the bounce after beating top of the league Trentham in one of the best performances of the season. Ways went into the game missing key players Nell (injured), Craig Davies (watching Wales lose), and Griffo (snowed in) so had to ring the changes and shuffle the team around. Boosted by the availability of Rob Wigley on a rare weekend back from boy scouts, the team still looked strong.
Kick off was delayed by 20 minutes due to the referee having problems with logistics. In previous matches this might of thrown Ways' preparation off but not today and this was shown with Ways starting off the strongest from their kick off. The game started at a fast pace, with possession changing hands repeatedly as both teams tried to boss the middle of the park.
Some strong running from Aidden Ruddock and Rob Wigley got Ways on the front foot, but as to no prevail with the referee pinging for infringements at the ruck. Trentham got themselves back in the game by sending some of their big ball runners down the inside channels, but Ways defence held strong and Trentham rarely got into the Five Ways 22.
On the 20 minute mark Five Ways were awarded a penalty on the Trentham 22 meter line after a well worked line out from the forwards and good setup play from the backs. Captain Ian Chaston pointed to the posts and coolly slotted the 3 points. The penalty seemed to spark some belief into the players and the momentum really started to build in Ways' favour.
Again strong scrummaging from the Five Ways front 5 gave the platform and the backs were really starting to force Trentham onto the back foot. Strong runs from Ian Chaston on the right wing and some good follow up kicks from Joe Brook brought play time and time again into the Trentham 22. It was 35mins into the game when Five Ways finally crossed the white wash.
Quick ball at the ruck allowed Tom Fletcher to take a look and switch play in the opposite direction, Joe brook moved the ball quickly to Rich Sollom who got on the outside shoulder of his man to pass to Bunny, who still with 3 men to beat, managed to bulldoze his way over the line from 10 meters out. Chaston failed with the conversation from the touch line.
Following this try, Five Ways set up the exact same play again only for the ref to call back the play again for ruck infringements. As the half came to an end everything seemed to be going to plan until a lose ball was fly hacked down the pitch into the Five Ways half. The Trentham scrumhalf collected well and from the quick ruck ball Trentham went under the posts. No mistakes from Trentham with the conversation and the first half ended 8-7 to FWOE.
The second half began strongly for Ways again with some strong runs from Sandy from deep and hard yards made by Jay and Rob in the forwards. One of Sandy's strong runs resulted in a penalty to Ways on the Trentham 22 right in front of the posts. Again Captain Marvel pointed to the posts and calmly knocked the ball over for 3 more points. That was the last time that Ways got into the Trentham half of the pitch for the last 20 mins of the game.
Ways were starved of ball at the set piece after Trentham brought on what looked like a specialist prop. Trentham attacked and attacked again but Ways defended like their lives depended on it. It would be hard to single out one player as every player did their job. Even after Ways went down to 14 men after Jess Banner was sin binned for dump tackle (the tackle was perfectly legal), the team still held strong. Any time Five Ways manged to get possession John Mounter would relieve the pressure with his boot, but this still didn't stop the Trentham attacks coming.
As time for the half came to an end Trentham were awarded a scrum on the far side of the pitch, if the scored they would take the win. Ways prepared them selves for the final battle. Trentham won the ball from the scrum, their number 8 picked and went only to be hit by a thunderous tackle from Fletch. Trentham recycled for a last attack but again they were hit by a monster tackle, this time from John Mounter. The Trentham player went to ground but, before the ball could be recycled, approximately 5 Five Ways players latched on to the ball before flanker Richard Sollom came over the top and tried to convince people that he had won the turnover (to make up for his lack of tries) and, with it, the match. The ref blew for full time. FWOE deserved the win, if not just for their defence in the last quarter.
Probably FWOE's toughest win of the season which you could tell from the reaction of the players after the final whistle. On to Wednesbury away next week.