Longton were well-beaten by an impressive, high-flying, Walsall team by 61pts. to 21 at Trentham Fields who were greatly aided by a first-half red card for Longton hooker, George Glenn, for an allegedly throwing a punch, although the decision will be greatly contested as many witnesses on that side of the field saw no foul play.
Walsall were quickly off the mark with a try after just 3mins. as they totally dominated possession in these early minutes; the success conversion made it 7pts. to nil. Then, just 4mins. later Walsall scored their second try again with Longton yet to win any possession. The conversion was good giving the visitors a 14-0pts. lead. It wasn’t until the 14th, minute that Longton finally managed to win some possession and territory. They were awarded a penalty in front of the Walsall posts and 8m. out from the try line. Pete Wilshaw took a quick tap and charged forward through several despairing tackles to dive over. Grant Hallam converted to make it 14-7pts. Shortly afterwards Longton hooker, George Glenn, was very harshly shown a red card for an alleged punch which will be greatly contested.
This now gave Walsall clear advantage in the scrums and lineout and they soon scored their 3rd, 4th. and 5th. tries in quick succession to push their lead out to 35pts. to 7. by half-time.
With only 2mins. of the second -half gone Walsall got another score, an unconverted try to stretch the lead to 40-7pts. Only 9mins. later Walsall scored again as the absence of hooker, George Glenn, really began to show as Longton struggled for possession with the visitors now leading by 47-7pts. With 25mins. of the half gone Walsall suffered a yellow card loss. Then, as Longton were attacking deep into the Walsall “22” a pass was intercepted and the Walsall player ran the length of the field to touch down under the posts; with the easy conversion landed Walsall now led by 54-7pts. The deflated Longton side did though continue to battle and with just 4mins. left scored their second try, converted by Grant Hallam to make it 54-14pts. Walsall came back straight away and scored a penalty try when Longton scrum-half, Jordan Hough, knocked the final pass forward in an attempt to intercept to be shown a yellow card. It was now 61 -14pts.although a clear forward pass in the build-up was missed.
Then in the last minute Longton did manage to score a third try, again converted by Grant Hallam, to make the final score 61-21pts.
Clearly, the loss of hooker, George Glenn, was a serious blow to Longton’s chances of getting something out of the game and the absence of star forward, Gareth Rawlings and centres, Joe Hall and Sam Durmigan, greatly weakened the Longton threat but it has to be said that the Walsall backs were a fast, accurate unit who will trouble most teams. Next week Longton are at home to Moseley Oak who will again provide a stern test.