Sat 03
Wolves
32
-
25
League
Wirral
Five Tries - Just Enough!

Five Tries - Just Enough!

By David Pike
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In the end the Wolves hung on to win their fifth league match of the season against a game and resilient Wirral side.


They scored five good tries, deserved their win but really should have put the game to bed long before Wirral’s Ali Baker latched on to an interception on his own line in the 75th minute to scamper the length of the pitch for a try under the posts. Wilmslow had been attacking for much of the last quarter as they sought a sixth try but Baker’s score signalled a frantic final few minutes in which Wilmslow defenders were frequently left grasping at shadows as Wirral were twice denied a match saving score only when their final pass went adrift.

The Wolves enjoyed a surfeit of good possession throughout from a rock solid scrum, where Alex Donaldson and Jack Walmsley always seemed to just have the edge over their front row opponents and from the lineout where Mike Clifford and Harrison Lewis just cleaned up. In the back row, James Keys was omnipresent in everything he did. Outside though the backs as a unit just failed to ignite as we know they can. Too many good positions were frittered away with poor passing and control of the ball was lost at critical moments too often.

To their credit, the visitors tackled and defended with vigour all afternoon and, being Wirral, they only had to have a sniff of a chance to make something of it. Craig Harvey is a consummate playmaker whether at No. 10 or in the centre and a reliable goal kicker. James Annetts too showed what he could do. It wasn’t difficult to see why they have taken points from all ten of their matches this season.

Moray MacCallum was kept busy manning the scoreboard from the outset. First to register was Harvey with a penalty after Wilmslow had knocked on at the start. To be fair it was a high testing kick which gave the Wirral pack plenty of time to get under it and to mess with Wilmslow’s attempt to take it. From the scrum, Wirral attacked and the Wolves were soon penalised for an offence in the ruck. Two minutes later it was Bob MacCallum’s turn to level the scores as Wilmslow attacked from a lineout and Wirral offended. This was quickly followed by a fine try from Tom Rayner on the Wilmslow left. The initial incursion was made from the lineout by No. 8 and skipper Mike Black and taken on by Donaldson and Lewis and when he was stopped the ball was recycled along the line to leave Tom Rayner with the easiest of run ins. The Wolves then lost possession as they tried to play out of their own twenty two and after a couple of lineouts, Harvey was on target again with his second penalty. Three minutes later a trademark break from Keys had half the Wirral side, or so it seemed, sucked in to haul him down and when the ball came back there was plenty of space and not much cover for Black to run in. The Wolves then conceded a scrum from a forward pass as they attempted to run the restart out of defence. Wirral’s Dave Doneo, breaking off the side of the ensuing scrum scored just as easily. Eighteen minutes played and it was 13 points each.

Both sides now spilt passes in a fluid passage of play until on the half hour MacCallum saw a longish penalty attempt come off the upright. The Wirral clearing kick was scuffed and as the ball bounced about, the Wilmslow forwards were the first to it and after three pick and go drives it was Lewis who was accredited with the touchdown. MaCallum’s conversion was good according to the touch judges but the Tipperary born exchange referee from London, Mr. Robbie Bourke was clear that it wasn’t and ruled it out. The Wolves continued to attack until they lost the ball in the tackle, Wirral’s No. 10 Annetts picked it up deep in his twenty two, put in either an accurate or speculative kick ahead, depending on your point of view, which he chased and collected to race away for a fine individual try. And that was it until half time.

It was well into the third quarter before Moray MacCallum on the scoreboard was troubled again. The Wolves disdained a very kickable penalty and after Wirral were penalised three times as the pack drove for the line, the referee awarded a penalty try. Almost immediately afterwards, Wirral’s response broke down in the Wolves twenty two, Wolves full back Lawrence James, who had dealt well with everything that had come his way, picked up the ball and had the legs to outpace everyone for the Wolves fifth try. At 32 – 18 as the last quarter approached, the Wolves were now in the box seat, Lewis and Clifford were doing much as they pleased in the lineout, chances came and went, Ben Day was only denied when the referee got in the way and charitably awarded the Wolves a scrum, most of the game was now in Wirral territory and then came Baker’s intervention.

On a crisp and sunny early November afternoon, it had been a thoroughly entertaining but error strewn game, which served to keep the supporters of both sides on their toes and ensured that nobody drifted away or off to the bar until referee Bourke, blew for No Side.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 03, Nov 2012

Kickoff

14:15

Competition

North 1 West