Problems for Walsall in League Opener
Crewe & Nantwich 39 - Walsall 22
The first match in this season league campaign proved to be real tester for the Walsall management. They already had players unavailable through absences or injury. But, added to this, scrum half Jordan Sproule was forced to withdraw with injury before the game. He was replaced by Dean Ainger, who was then forced to leave the field with an injury after twenty minutes.
The hosts, after their relegation last season, were obviously keen to impress their supporters, and looked to play the game at a fast pace. They were soon on the scoreboard with a penalty and a try after some strong ball carries. The Walsall pack began to gain more control of the game and they were rewarded, when prop forward, Pete Fitzgerald, burst through for the team's first score. But it was the hosts that secured the final scores of the first half. They turned over possession and scored two tries with kicker Creighton converting both and a late penalty. This made it 27 - 5 at the break.
The early period of the second half tended to be a rather scrappy affair. Eventually the home team got their bonus point try after Walsall lost possession and Meredith gathered the ball and made a sixty meter try scoring run. The final twenty minutes saw Walsall produce some good phases of play with Luczak, Dickson and Benson being particularly effective. They scored two tries during this period with Luczak and Fitzgerald going through the home defence. Carless added one conversion to make it 34 - 17. The visitors had developed some real impetus and were looking for another score. Indeed two scoring opportunities were squandered. But, once again, they failed to retain possession and the hosts were quick to capitalise as Ward burst through for the score. Walsall, to their credit, finished strongly and gained their bonus point try when Luczak when over late in the game.