THIS week Wednesbury travelled to local rivals Handsworth, a tie traditionally played with a lot of passion and commitment and this game was no exception.
It was played in appalling conditions with the ground very heavy and everyone caked in mud, making handling exceptionally hard. Handsworth adapted to the conditions better than their visitors and so ran out eventual winners.
The home side won the toss and elected to kick down the slope for the first half and used this to great advantage, within five minutes they took the lead with a well worked try, no conversion.
Handsworth used the slope to their advantage, continually kicking down into their opponents half; Wednesbury not only had to counteract this but had the heavy muddy ground also which made running up the slope even more difficult.
Handsworth increased their lead with another converted try.
Wednesbury did eventually get onto the score sheet on the half hour with a penalty from Tom Huggins, but this was only a brief respite as Handsworth added another converted try to their tally.
Wednesbury never gave up the fight and kept taking the game to Handsworth, John McGregor, Dave Hall and Dale Doughty putting in some tremendous tackles and attacking play.
In the second half Wednesbury had the run of the slope but did not seem able to take advantage of it. Mitch Grearly used his pace and power to drive down the pitch and punch holes in the Handsworth defence but Wednesbury were unable to take advantage.
Half way through the half, despite all the work and pressure Wednesbury had put Handsworth under, it was the home side that took the advantage, breaking through the Wednesbury defence and scoring their third converted try.
With just ten minutes remaining Wednesbury finally broke through the Handsworth defence, John Cleaver received the ball from about twenty metres out and ran at the Handsworth defence. With rugged determination he managed to drive over the Handsworth try line with three players hanging onto him to score the try for Wednesbury, no conversion.
Their jubilation was short lived. within five minutes Handsworth took advantage of a mix up in the Wednesbury defence to score their fifth try, and then added the conversion.
Wednesbury's coach picked Dale Doughty as his man of the match.
Next week Wednesbury entertain Market Drayton Ko 2-15.
Wednesbury 2nds beat Handsworth 2nds 19-15, two entertaining games given the terrible conditions that all sides had to play in.