Wilmslow Overwhelm Wirral in the First Half
By Andrew Broadbent
A poor first half performance by Wirral gave the League's basement club the win.
The first half of the match was a nightmare for Wirral and the 30 or so spectators who made the journey along the M56 as the team turned in a performance which followed on from the second half of last week’s match against Blaydon. One can look to the growing injury list, unavailability, and positional changes but there was also I feel a touch of complacency as Wirral played a team which was already relegated and suffered a big loss at Clatterbridge earlier in the season.
With captain, CRAIG HARVEY injured and likely to be out for some time with a reoccurrence of a knee injury, James Annetts
assumed the fly half role and captaincy. DAN HARVEY moved into the centre in the absence of CHRIS SPEED to join Sam Broadbent
. In the forwards, Ryan Higginson
returned with HAYDN LONG continuing in the back row alongside, Mike Warren
and James Reeve
, TOM PARRY is out injured. The subs were Ben Brooks
, James Adams
and ADAM DON (looking to make his first team debut).
Wilmslow played with the strong wind in their favour in the first half but it was Wirral who made the first move with a break by DAN HARVEY who was stopped some 15m from the Wilmslow line but no one was in support to carry on the move. A long clearance downfield gave Wilmslow territorial advantage and from a scrum 22m out, the ball was spun down the line and an overlap created for winger, James Coulhurst to touch down and converted by Bob McCallum 7-0 (6 mins). In the 14th and 18th minutes when Wirral were in the opposition half, passes were intercepted and Wilmslow’s Ethan Harding and James Coulhurst were left with easy run ins from 55m out to leave the score 21-0. Another break by DAN HARVEY took play up to 20m area and with Joe Murray
following up he was tackled into touch. Wilmslow cleared from this area but another interception by Wilmslow followed by a grubber kick to a metre from the corner flag kept Wirral on the defensive. From a scrum 15m out the ball was swung left and Ben Day on the charge scored close to the posts, duly converted 28-0, at a point a minute at this stage.
Wirral put in a long kick downfield into the wind and the only person following was Ryan Higginson
thus enabling Wirral to apply some pressure on Wilmslow. With controlled possession they were awarded when a short pass to Mike Warren
gave him the opportunity to score his first try of the season and converted by James Annetts
. 28-7 (34 minutes). Wirral were back in the game and looked to keep the score or add to it in the minutes leading up to half time with a view to having the benefit of the wind in the second half. Alas that was not to be the case as a bout of good passing enabled Wilmslow scrum half Sean Street to score under the posts, 35-7 at half time.
After strong words from the Wirral coach at half time and the benefit of the wind, Wirral were made fully aware of where the game was to be played in this second half. With controlled possession in the Wirral half a further try from Ben Day increased the Wilmslow lead to 40-7. (45 minutes). Two substitutions were made; Ben Brooks
came on for DAN HARVEY and James Adams
for HAYDN LONG with James playing in the back row. In the next 10 minutes, Wirral scored two tries through Mike Warren
(Again) and Ben Brooks
, the latter following a good break by James Annetts
, one was converted- 40-19 (59 minutes). However a further try from Wilmslow through Ben Day his third put the game beyond Wirral as the Wilmslow lead was extended to 47-19. ADAM DON a prop came on to play blindside as Mike Warren
!! was substituted.
In the final 12 minutes of the game, Wirral scored tries through Mark Williams
(his first of the season) which was also the try bonus point, Chris Crowley
and Sam Broadbent
. Little time was taken in taking the conversions as Wirral pressed for more tries. Again attacking and a penalty to Wirral, taken quickly but with a Wilmslow player interfering with the play this created a knock on and Wilmslow were given the scrum instead of another yellow card!!- From this position Wirral could have scored and earned a losing bonus point. Alas it was not to be and the match was over with Wilmslow scoring 7 tries to Wirral’s 6.
This was poor performance by Wirral and Coach, Darren will need to pick up the players for the remaining matches of the season, the next being on 23rd March against Kendal k.o. 3.00pm. It is hoped some of the injured players will be back for this game.