Only Pride at Stake
By Saints Newsroom
Saints not found wanting! Report by Geoff Smith
On a warm, sunny Saturday, Anselmians welcomed Warrington to the Vauxhall sports ground for their last home game of the season. For Anselmians, already destined for level 7 rugby next season, only pride was at stake but Warrington needed a victory if they were to retain any chance of avoiding a similar fate.
Warrington started the game the stronger of the two sides and there were ominous warning signs when at their first scrum Saints were pushed of their own ball. Similarly, they lost their first line out on their own throw. Already the pattern of the game was established and it was clear that Saints possession was going to be at a premium.
For the first 18 mins Anselmians saw no ball and one long range penalty kick from the half way represented their entire attacking threat in the opening period. As Warrington made the most of their superiority in the forwards, only poor handling in the backs, dropping the ball several times with the line beckoning, prevented them taking the lead. It was the 19th minute before Anselmians got their first look at the Warrington 22 metre line when a break from centre Nolan ended with an intelligent offload to Grabe who gruber kicked to touch on the Warrington 22.
Unfortunately, however, from the resulting line out, Warrington moved the ball across the pitch to their left winger who broke away and one inside pass later Warrington got their first try. 0 – 5 on 22 mins. This was quickly followed by a second try, this time from a break down the right, to make the score 0 – 12 on 25 mins. On 30 mins, another break from Nolan, saw Saints make their second appearance in the Warrington 22 only for Southwell to be tackled into touch on the Warrington 5 metre line. The message was clear, if Saints could secure some quality possession then points would follow but Saints possession proved as rare as “The Saint “buying the first round and on 38 mins Warrington increased their lead crashing over under the posts following another period of sustained pressure on the Saints line making the score 0 – 19 at half time.
The second half began in much the same vein with Saints struggling at both scrum and line out and it was no surprise when on 50 mins Warrington took their lead to 0 – 26. Only 4 mins later it was 0 – 33 and the game was over as a contest.
Saints to their credit continued to battle and on 58 mins Cummings capitalised on some rare ball to break up the middle of the field, go through several tackles to score under the posts for Saints. 7 – 33. By this time Saints backs were seeing more of the ball and it was Warrington who were coming under pressure for the first time in the game. On 67 mins the pressure told and Saints were awarded a penalty try when Warrington were deemed to have deliberately knocked on to prevent a try scoring pass on their own line. 14 – 33.
On 70 mins Warrington scored the final try of the game in a way that summed the game up. With their line under threat Saints were awarded a penalty which they duly kicked to touch only for them to lose the line out and allow Warrington to come straight back at them. Good Anselmian defence earned them another penalty but again the line out from the clearance kick ended in a Warrington scrum for not straight and this time from the resulting possession Warrington went over under the posts to make the final score 14 – 40.
As the saying goes “Possession is nine tenths of the law “and on this occasion the judge came down firmly on the side of Warrington.