Jimmy Celebrates in Style
By Andrew Broadbent
Jimmy made it a day to remember, not only was it his birthday but he celebrated with a “man of the match” game.
(JA) made it a day to remember not only was it his birthday but he celebrated with a “man of the match” game, a 100% kicking conversion rate but during the game he scored his 1000th point for the first team and as a result he was presented with an engraved tankard by club coach DARREN HALL and captain, Craig Harvey
Following selection on Tuesday there was again a number of changes as JOE MURRAY was not available due to work comittments so the versatile Mike Warren
was drafted into the scrum half position, JOHN HARRIS has returned to his ship so James Reeve
moved off the subs bench to play wing-forward. Ryan Stead
returned to the second row in place of PAUL LEWIS (injured). Making a return to the first team squad was Keith Mahon
who was joined on the subs bench by Chris Hughes
and Sam Broadbent
Wirral played with the wind towards the club house in the first half. Sandal had possession of the ball for the first 8 minutes during which the Sandal No 8 made a break following a smart pass from his fly half. A kick along the ground went dead and gave Wirral the first feel of the ball and with a penalty gave them a line out 17m from the Sandal line. Controlling the ball and good inter passing left Wirral close to the line and Rob Pearl
opened the scoring with a try 14m from the posts which JA converted. 7-0 (10 minutes). A further penalty gave Wirral possession 30m out, with the ball going blind and Ryan Higginson
making a dash for the line only to be hauled down 4m short but with Wirral retaining pressure the ball was spun left, Craig Harvey
but in a kick behind the Sandal defence however it ricocheted off a Sandal player over the line and Chris Speed
was on hand to touch down, JA converted. 14-0 (15 mins).
Sandal countered with a blindside break but a foot in touch halted matters but from here they counter attacked only to put in kick which went dead. Wirral came back with James Reeve
stopped 5m out when Wirral had an overlap. Three minutes later Tom Parry
made a half break but unfortunately no one was up in support. Eventually the pressure told when the ball went out left and using guile and hand-offs Craig Harvey
crossed and JA converted 21-0 (33 minutes). The Sandal scrum half, Will Morecambe was sin binned for an incident as Craig scored and Wirral had a penalty from the kick off.
Sandal when in possession were not making any progress against the keen tackling Wirral side and in the minute before half time, a scrum 40m saw Mike Warren
go blind and the pass to James Annetts
saw the latter break through the defence and then outpace the defence down the wing to score and convert his own try. Half time 28-0. At the break Keith Mahon
came on for James Reeve
Wirral started the second half in the same manner as they finished the first, with a break on 46 minutes from JA who was tackled 20m from the line but was able to pass the ball to the supporting Ryan Higginson
who ran in unopposed, JA again converted. 35-0. From the kick off, Wirral dropped the ball and Sandal made good progress towards the Wirral line. A scrum 5m from the line was halted but a resultant penalty enabled second row, Declan Thompson to score and this was not converted by Greg Wood. For a period of time Wirral were not able to get out of their half. On 60 minutes, Sam Broadbent
came on for Craig Harvey
. Rob Pearl
was sin –binned for a late tackle after the attacker had just kicked the ball downfield. Finally, Wirral put pressure on the Sandal line as they progressed from 15m out to the line: a number of thrusts were repelled and a wrong call when passing enabled the Sandal fly half, Greg Wood to intercept and run 80m before putting in a cross kick where Simon Frewin picked up and scored under the posts. 35-12- 68 minutes. Chris Hughes
came on for Jack Yarker
. Sandal were now sniffing a victory as they came from 20+ points in the game at Sandal last season to win the game.
Jack Townend made a break from 50m to split the Wirral defence and scored to reduce the Wirral lead to 35-19- match on. Craig Harvey
returned to the affray in place of Ryan Stead
with Chris Speed
moving into the forwards. With 4 minutes remaining Craig Harvey
made a break and ran through to score, soothing Wirral nerves and with the conversion from JA, Wirral ran out winners 42-19.
This was Wirral’s best performance of the season as more players come available and look forward to their trip in two weeks’ time at high flying Billingham. Wirral now move up to 6th in the table.