Wirral Run Out of Time at Blaydon
By Andrew Broadbent
This was a match Blaydon dominated for 20 minutes thereafter the territory was much in Wirral’s favour but could not pull off the surprise win as time ran out.
For the long trip to Blaydon the team met at 7.45am and there were again a number of changes although we only travelled with two substitutes. We looked to press MATT SLATER into service as third sub but MATT is no longer registered. In the pack Ryan Higginson
returned as prop, Paul Lewis
joined Ryan Stead
in the second row, with MATT DALTON starting in the back row with Rob Pearl
returning as captain; TOM PARRY was out with a rib injury. In the backs, MATT LOON was not available so Mark Williams
came into the wing position. Chris Crowley
started at scrum half with James Annetts
returning at fly half. Ben Cornford
came in at fullback. The subs were Sam Broadbent
and the ubiquitous Mike Warren
Playing on a 4G pitch and against the wind it was Wirral who made the first foray into the opposition half and were awarded a penalty wide out but the effort went wide. From Blaydon’s first meaningful possession in midfield, the ball was spun out to the backs, centre Alex Clarke broke through, drew the fullback and the other centre, Dan Marshall had a clear run to the line and an easy conversion for Jamie Guy, 7-0 (4 mins). The Blaydon second try came from a nudge through from 20m out and although Wirral covered after the ball hit the post they were deemed to have carried the ball over the whitewash giving Blaydon a 5m scrum put in. From the scrum, Dan Marshall teased the Wirral defence before cutting through to score 10m from the posts but the conversion was missed. 12-0 (10 mins).
It would appear that every time Blaydon had the ball they were capable of breaking through and on 13 mins having stolen the ball from Wirral in midfield and play close to the line and a number of thrusts, second row Jack Davidson crashed over and the try was converted 19-0. A charge down by Jack Yarker
and then non-release enabled Wirral to get on the score sheet with a James Annetts
penalty. 19-3 (15 mins). Blaydon were not using the wind and preferred to play out of defence and gradually work their way downfield and a quick ball released speedy winger, Jack Appleton who cut through the defence to score under the posts and duly converted , 26-3 (20minutes).
Gradually Wirral worked their way into the game and a period of controlled possession enabled them to work their way downfield although the Blaydon tackling was keen. A quickly taken penalty by Chris Crowley
was halted 1m from the whitewash. Rob Pearl
was deemed to be held up over the line and from the 5m scrum; three penalties were awarded to Wirral as the away team forwards pushed the Blaydon scrum back and the they infringed- but no penalty try! Further scrum and from this play Ryan Higginson
ploughed over and this was converted by James Annetts
. 26-10 (36 mins). At this stage one in the first half Blaydon had already given away some 13 penalties but no action taken by the referee. Blaydon from the kick off had an opportunity to score again but the ball was dropped.
Along relieving kick downfield against the wind gave Wirral possession in the opposition 20m area where Wirral turned over the ball and from a line out, Jack Yarker
peeled round and set up James Annetts
who split through the Blaydon centres to score under the posts and converted his own try, 26-17 (39mins). In the last play before half time a good break by Blaydon was stopped with aggressive tackling by Wirral, where Ben Cornford
fell awkwardly dislocating his shoulder- BEN was taken to a Gateshead hospital where he had an operation to put his shoulder back in and the team bus collected him from there at 5.45.
The second half started at 2.52 with DAN HARVEY going to full back with Sam Broadbent
coming off the bench to play centre with Chris Speed
. The game started and a few minutes into the half there was a clash of heads which needed immediate attention given the Blaydon No 8 had been knocked out and went off for a head assessment.
In the first 7 minutes of playing time, Blaydon had two penalty attempts and succeeded with the second to increase their lead to 29-17. Wirral were using the wind well to make ground and Wirral were now keeping Blaydon down in their half. Wirral were denied a try by BEN BROOKES following good play by James Annetts
and were brought back for a scrum under the posts from which Wirral scored with a push over try by Rob Pearl
and converted by James Annetts
, 29-24 (55 mins). The pressure Wirral were applying was beginning to tell when a Blaydon player infringed at a quick penalty. Wirral were now camped on the Blaydon line and although pushing their scrum back were deemed to have infringed so the opportunity was lost. Mike Warren
came on for Paul Lewis
Much as Wirral applied the pressure they could not find the way through the Blaydon defence and it was obvious in the scrum that Wirral had the upper hand but Blaydon were allowed to collapse the scrum and still get the put in! The game was ended at 3.30 some 38 minutes after the start of the second half but it would appear that no time had been taken off for the head injury- at least 5 minutes in this particular case.
Wirral need to start quicker in these matches rather than giving the opposition points start but overall a good performance in the final 60 minutes of the match with the front row outstanding as they had the beating of their opposite numbers in the tight and open.
There is no match next week as England take on the All Blacks with the next match on the 17th against Wilmslow at home, kick off 2.15pm.