Sarries battle to beat the drop with another win!
Tries: Trend, Green, Brownlow, Winterflood (2)
Pens: Macca 2
Cons: Macca 2
Wilmslow 2nds 9
At first glance this looks like a one-sided encounter which the Saracens seem to have dominated. If we were being truthful, it certainly was not with three late second half tries giving the scoreline a slightly flattering look for the relegation threatened home side.
In glorious sunshine, played on the wide 1st XV pitch (or is that the main pitch?) at KEQMS, the Sarries took on a youthful and fit looking 4th placed Wilmslow 2nds. The Campbell squad rotation policy was in affect again this week with 6 changes in the backline. Only Macca, the general at 10, kept his place and in came some new blokes called Jon Green and Paul Reeves in the centre. Both looked like they could play a bit? Outwide, JT (fast one, not the slow, ginger one!) took up the right wing berth and the spritely and hugely over-weight, David Winterflood, was on the left wing. At 23kg, Winty would prove a real handful on the charge! At full back Soupie was trying out a real young gun called Mark Evans and this pony-tailed assassin was hoping to prove his worth in his first senior match. Matt 'Mr Fit' Wilkinson would partner Macca at 10.
From the KO this looked like it would be a close and even contest and so it proved with two strong sets of forwards enjoying some competitive exchanges in the loose and the backs. Stevie Brownlow had numerous charges and 'super' Sammy Laycock was backing him up well with his massive famer hands being used to great affect. Fylde enjoyed the advantage of the wind and a horrible low setting sun behind them and for the first 10 minutes they camped in the Wilmslow 22. Sadly, a few bad decisions then let Wilmslow break out and they showed their strength in the backrow and at 10 to carve their way through the Fylde defence to nearly score. Wilmslow battered the Fylde line but aggressive defence by Brockbank and Campbell stopped them but the talented 10 had time to calmly slot a neat drop goal for a 3-0 lead. Fylde immediately hit back and a penalty from 30m out was slotted by Macca with ease and the scores were immediately level.
Then came the first try of the match. Laycock and Brownlow made some in-roads down the middle and Wilky and Macca released the Ginger Pearl (Green) and, despite his chocolate back, he cut through and Wilmslow were back pedalling fast. Quick ball was fed to Macca who hit Evans on the right and a huge spin pass was sent left to Jev Trend and the ex-Ironman swim, biked and ran into the corner for a superb team try. 8-3 Sarries.
A further penalty from Macca, a beauty from 40m, put the Sarries 11-3 up but a Wilmslow penalty from in front of the sticks made it 11-6. The Wilmslow 10 was proving a real handful and his massive boot, even against the wind, was a huge threat although JT and Evans fielded the ball extremely well. With the wind behind him in the second half this would surely be a problem? Half time came and the Sarries held the advantage at 11-6.
Against the wind, the Sarries actually started the second half the better and Wilmslow found themselves camped on their own line. However, the visitors showed their skill and pace to break out twice with devastating effect. The first break out, when it looked like they were going to kick, saw them race 80m before being hauled down but a penalty at the ruck gave Wilmslow a shot at goal and they were now just 11-9 behind. Minutes later their second break out after good Sarries play saw them have a huge overlap on their right. With a 4 v 2, Winterflood and Evans did what they could but Wilmslow picked them off to score a great try.......................well, almost a great try, as the last Wilmslow player dropped the ball over the try line after drawing the last man! This would have been a certain 7 pointer and the left off seemed to galvanise Campbell's Babes as they set about dominating the remaining 25 minutes.
Macca and Wilkinson continued to direct play and after the previous let off, the Sarries rubbed salt into the Wilmslow wounds with a lovely try made by the bull-like running of Joe Brockbank. Brockbank ripped through the opposing defence from a simple crash ball on the 50m line and he was away. Displaying wonderful pace and vision he drew the fullback and the ever-supporting Green was sent clear for a try near the posts. From being nearly 16-11 down, the Sarries were suddenly 18-9 ahead.
The last fifteen minutes saw the match open up with changes on both sides and the odd sin-binning. The Sarries scored three quick tries to seal the win. Brownlow scored a deserved try after all his hard work (and a telling off from the new 15) as he was on the end of another good team move. In fact, Brownlow was showing off his full repertoire of skills as he dazzled the crowd with some wonderful kicks late on. Winterflood scored a try out of nothing with 10 minutes to go as a hopeful kick forward was completely messed up by the opposing 15 and winger and the Lomu-like Winty hacked through for an opportunistic try and a 30-9 advantage.
The last try saw Winterflood score his second of the day as he was on the end of another sweeping team move. Great play by the forwards out wide on the right saw Wilkinson and Macca send Reeves free and he put Evans into a gap. With defenders swooping onto the young Evans he put a chip behind the defence and Winterflood won the race to the touchdown to seal a 35-9 win.
There was still time in the match for some comedy moments as Green, with his dodgy back, cramped up whilst running the ball out from his own line. The scream of "Aaargh, cramp!" gained no sympathy at all as he hit the deck like he'd been shot by a sniper! The watching Wally Green was seen to be laughing the most!
So, the Sarries win their fourth match in this difficult season. They are 7 points behind Hoppers 3rds who are just above the drop zone with 9 matches to play. With some more good home performances, maybe, just maybe, they can beat the drop!?