Vase - Almost but Not Quite in Tense Game
By Andrew Broadbent
Cheshire Vase Final
On Easter Monday, Wirral played the Cheshire Vase Final at Wilmslow against Sale and just failed in their attempt having led until the 78th minute.
The opening exchanges saw Wirral camped in the Sale 20m area but could not press home their advantage despite several 5m scrums and being deemed as being held up over the line. During this time a kickable penalty was missed.
However it was Sale who scored first when a break from 45m by scrum half Sam Stelmaszek, saw him score under the posts and the try being converted by Mike Swetman. 7-0 (24 mins). Four minutes later, Wirral were on the score sheet when a mix up in the Sale defence allowed ROB PEARL to kick ahead and beat the defence to dive on the ball and score in the corner, the conversion just failed. 7-5 (28 mins).
With continued Wirral pressure a penalty from CRAIG HARVEY gave Wirral the lead 7-8 (33 mins). This was the score until the 78th minute although in the intervening period, Sale had two opportunities to use the wind and kick for goal but were badly missed and the Wirral defence continued to stem the Sale attacks and gradually worked their way down to the Sale 20m area where they were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts. CRAIG duly obliged to extend the Wirral lead to 7-11.
At this stage they were informed that there was a further 8 minutes (6 minutes of extra time) to play!! From the kick off, it appeared that the ball was going dead but a cruel bounce saw the ball bounce the opposite way, Wirral had to scramble the ball to touch some 20m out. Sale won the line out well and swift passing saw the big centre, Mike Swetman break through the middle to score near the posts but the conversion was missed but Sale had taken the lead 12-11.
Again Wirral applied pressure but a long relieving kick from the opposition escaped the clutches of the Wirral player and went into touch giving Sale the throw. They repeated the same dose and whilst the centre made a half break on this occasion, he was able to pass on to winger Christian Lillee who ran the remaining 25m unopposed and the try was converted. At this stage the referee blew for time.
The final score somewhat flattered Sale but the game had been highly competitive and the Wirral amateurs can be proud of their performance.