Crewe RUFC Man of the match Toby Ward

Crewe & Nantwich RUFC 1sts began life in Midlands 2 West (North) Division with a convincing 39 -22 home win against Walsall RFC.

The hosts included many new faces after 10 players retired or left the club to play elsewhere.

New Director of Rugby Martin Davies and Head Coach Peter Allen will be delighted at how the new-look squad gelled in this league opener.

Crewe started strongly and the visitors were penalised just outside their own 22m line.

Jim Creighton kicked the penalty and put Crewe & Nantwich ahead 3-0.

From the re-start, home team skipper Eli Woodward gathered the ball and went on a short run before being tackled.

The ball was neatly passed through Crewe hands to debutant inside centre Josh McShane whose jinking run from his own half avoided several Walsall tackles and scored a superb try underneath the posts.

Josh McShane

Creighton’s conversion made it 10-0.

The bigger Walsall pack got their team back into the game.

Following poor defence by Crewe at a ruck five metres from the Crewe line, Walsall tight head prop Fitzgerald pushed his way over to make it 10-5.

It was a wake-up call for the hosts who went through five well drilled phases of play leading to a try in the corner by Crewe number 7 David Germain.

The conversion from the right touchline was no problem for Creighton who made it 17-5.

From the re-start Walsall kicked straight to Woodward.

He charged into the Walsall half and the attack caused panic in the visitors ranks.

After another jinking run by McShane he passed to Toby Ward, who stormed through a defensive gap to end more than 12 months out with a serious knee injury to score under the posts.

Toby Ward

Creighton again converted to make it 24-5 to Crewe & Nantwich.

A penalty for offside just before the half time whistle allowed Creighton to extend that to 27-5 at the break.

On the hour mark, Walsall were handed an advantage when Crewe replacement Grant Coiley was sin binned for 10 minutes for an alleged infringement at a ruck.

But despite being a man down, debutant Elliot Meredith took matters into his own hands with a burst from the Crewe 22-yard line past several defenders to score a memorable try out of nothing to extend the Crewe and Nantwich lead to 34-5 with Creighton’s successful conversion.

Crewe tired in the final quarter which let the visitors back into the game and Walsall scored two tries in a matter of minutes to reduce the arrears to 34-17.

Crewe skipper Woodward rallied his men who responded well.

Dave Germain

Strong forward play won the ball for Crewe and following a quick interchange of passes, man of the match Ward moved to inside centre and made a decisive break at speed which left the Walsall defence in his wake to score his second try of the afternoon.

Despite a late Walsall try, Crewe & Nantwich secured a bonus point victory.

Head Coach Peter Allen said: “At times I thought we played some very good rugby.

“Some of our tries were high quality and all the players who made their first team debuts gave a good account of themselves.

“We still have work to do in training to address certain issues and we will do that between now and our next league game in two weeks’ time.

“The support from the spectators was fantastic and I know that will have helped the players.

“I hope the team will give the supporters more to cheer and smile about as the season progresses.”

(All images courtesy of James Brewerton)

Travis Mitchell

kicker Jim Creighton

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