Played on Sunday 19th January at Walsall RFC
Our first proper fixture of the season proved to be a real test of the squads defences skills and Staff back line were well drilled and put on show some sharp handling skills. With a lovely flowing move Staffs moved the ball quickly down their backs creating and overlap to score on the corner, but conversion missed. NLD responded well and the pressure resulted in Staffs giving away a penalty which led to an NLD line out on the Staffs 22, This was turned into a well driven maul, which resulted in the Staffs No 6 collapsing illegally just short of the try line, the Ref gave a penalty try and yellow card, though our hooker claimed he scored anyway. With their heads up the forwards started making gains from around the ruck area and linked well with the backs resulting in well worked try, but conversion missed. With half-time beckoning NLD conceded a penalty in their own 22 and Staffs forwards sucked in our pack and scored round the fringes of the ruck, conversion made.
Half time 12-12
The second half became very cat and mouse and had one of the longest scrums ever seen at this level with 6/7 resets and over 3 minutes taken before the ball was finally back in play. Staffs continued to play some great rugby in with their back line and after a run of four penalties in our 22 the Ref went to his pocket, Playing the next 7 minutes one down NLD defence was outstanding holding of attack after attack from Staffs. As our player returned from the next play NLD turned the ball over and our No 7 broke through the Staffs line, linking well with our No 2. From the resulting penalty for killing the ball in the tackle, NLD kicked for the corner and tried once more to set up a driving maul, but an accidental offside resulted in a Staffs scrum. NLD took the resulting scrum against the head and breaking from No 8 almost scored, from the resulting ruck our No 4 powered over, but conversion missed. With time running out yet another scrum resulted in a penalty to NLD and clear thinking by our 10 saw him tap it to himself and then kick to touch bringing the final whistle.
Next fixture is away against Eastern Counties on the 2nd February