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1st XV - Match centre

S Gratton, D Harvey (2)
J Annetts
J Annetts
Sat 13 Oct 15:00 - Northern Division - North Premier Full time

Wirral blown away at Billingham


Wirral blown away at Billingham

Leaving Clatterbridge at 9.00am on Saturday in pouring rain we at least knew the Billingham 3G pitch would be in an ideal condition. The driver took a different route than normal and we were there in less than 3 hours driving time to be greeted by a warm sun and blue clouds but a strong wind blowing down the ground.
For once there were fewer changes than we have seen of late to the side although PAUL LEWIS was left out of the squad nursing a calf injury, Ryan Stead joined MATT DALTON in the second row, Chris Crowley recently returned back from his gap year down under joined the subs bench along with Sam Broadbent and Mike Warren.
This is a ground where we have not had much success over the past 5 years and matters were not helped that Billingham elected to play with the strong wind advantage in the first half. Within the first two minutes, Billingham were ahead when turnover ball was won by the home side and the big and powerful No 8 Dan Dixon powered over from 5m, the conversion was missed- 5-0. 7 minutes later a Billingham backs move down the middle caught Wirral out and winger Matt Kirby scored under the posts, converted by Peter Evans. 12-0 (9mins). Wirral were able to make progress downfield and were rewarded with a penalty from 20m by James Annetts.
At this stage, Billingham looked threatening whenever their backs had the ball and Wirral were able to make some ground when keeping the ball amongst their forwards. In the 12th minute Billingham scored their 3rd try when good inter passing was finished off with wing forward Dan Burns crossing and duly converted, 19-3 (12 minutes). Wirral were then pressing the Billingham line but could not get over the whitewash, the ball was dropped and the home side were grateful to clear some 60m downfield. From the next scrum 30m out the back row quickly broke and fed centre Luke Wilson who running at a great angle broke through and scored without any Wirral player touching him, scoring their bonus point try already. 26-3 (24 minutes). Sam Broadbent came on for Chris Speed (elbow injury due to G3 pitch burn). We kick off and ball is collected and the ball passed through several hands, No 8 creates a breakthrough down the middle and ended with Matt Kirby running in under the posts to score, duly converted 33-3 at half time.
Craig Harvey retires from game with knee injury which needs a scan and possible operation, replaced by Chris Crowley. With benefit of the wind Wirral make progress downfield and advance towards line but lose control of the ball but keep Billingham in their half. A half break by Joe Murray takes play into the Billingham 20m area bit again ball is lost following strong tackling from the home side. A small break by James Reeve who then passes to Stuart Gratton and the latter powers over under the posts, with the try being converted by James Annetts. 33-10 (47 minutes). Although back in the game, Billingham respond in the next minute where great inter-passing sets up Luke Wilson for his second try, again converted. 40-10. Mike Warren on for James Reeve.
Wirral again pressing the Billingham line 1m out only to knock on when pressing, Billingham clear but in the next minute, Matt Loon is tackled 1m from the line and at this stage unlucky not to have added to their score. On 64 minutes with Wirral in possession some 30m out, a Joe Murray nudge over the Billingham pack was collected by DAN HARVEY who scored in the corner, the conversion was missed. 40-15.At this stage of the game Wirral were winning a lot of the Billingham balls at the line outs through MATT DALTON. A good break by James Annetts set up a good field position, from here the ball was spun left and DAN HARVEY was on hand to scoot in for his second try in the corner, the conversion was missed. 40-20 (72 minutes). Wirral were now pressing for the fourth try and a bonus point but a couple of penalties in a match where there had been few enabled Billingham to have a presence in the Wirral 20m area. Captain, Peter Evans managed to wriggle over from 15m with the aid of poor tackling and his conversion took the score out to 47-20 and his personal tally to 17 points.
In the 79th Minute, Stuart Gratton was sin binned for being off side in mid-field, a decision which surprised all. In the final seconds of the game, Wirral were again pressing but could not come up with that decisive play.
Billingham observers said that this was the best that they had played all season which is of little consolation to Wirral who although arriving at the ground in plenty of time obviously still at the effects of the journey in their legs. For the next two weeks Wirral have home matches against, Rossendale and Ilkley, starting with Rossendale next week with a 3.00pm kick off.

Key moments

Penalty James Annetts kicks a penalty for Wirral
Try Stuart Gratton scores for Wirral
Conversion James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
Try Danny Harvey scores for Wirral
Try Danny Harvey scores for Wirral


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72:00 Try 0 - 20
Danny Harvey scores for Wirral
72:00 Missed Conversion
James Annetts misses a conversion for Wirral
64:00 Missed Conversion
James Annetts misses a conversion for Wirral
64:00 Try 0 - 15
Danny Harvey scores for Wirral
64:00 Try Assist
Joe Murray makes an assist for Wirral
60:00 Sub On
Mike Warren is substituted on for Wirral
60:00 Sub Off
James Reeve is substituted off for Wirral
46:00 Try 0 - 8
Stuart Gratton scores for Wirral
46:00 Try Assist
James Reeve makes an assist for Wirral
46:00 Conversion 0 - 10
James Annetts kicks a conversion for Wirral
41:00 Sub Off
Craig Harvey is substituted off for Wirral
41:00 Sub On
Chris Crowley is substituted on for Wirral
End of period 1
25:00 Sub On
Sam Broadbent is substituted on for Wirral
25:00 Sub Off
Chris Speed is substituted off for Wirral
11:00 Penalty 0 - 3
James Annetts kicks a penalty for Wirral
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Billingham
  • Wirral
  • 0
  • James Annetts Penalty 11:00'
  • Chris Speed Sub Off 25:00'
  • Sam Broadbent Sub On 25:00'
  • Craig Harvey Sub Off 41:00'
  • Chris Crowley Sub On 41:00'
  • Stuart Gratton Try 46:00'
  • James Reeve Try Assist 46:00'
  • James Annetts Conversion 46:00'
  • James Reeve Sub Off 60:00'
  • Mike Warren Sub On 60:00'
  • Danny Harvey Try 64:00'
  • Joe Murray Try Assist 64:00'
  • Danny Harvey Try 72:00'

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other North Premier results

Kirkby Lonsdale


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Hull 26 118
2. Blaydon 26 99
3. Harrogate 26 98
4. Billingham 26 89
5. Rossendale 26 72
6. Sandal 26 70
7. Wirral 26 69

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