Match Report
Wilmslow High School 1st XV vs  Wirral Grammar School for Boys
On: Saturday, 16 Oct 2010
Venue: Away

A tale two halves gives Wilmslow a happy ending.
By Chris Heal
At Wirral Grammar School

Wirral Grammar School 3
Wilmslow High School 29

Tries: O. H-Douglas, J. Walker, L. Tyrell, E. Harding, W. Batterbury
Cons: W. Batterbury 2

Wilmslow make it 8 wins from 8 going into the half-term break after a tale of two halves against Wirral Grammar School.
Its not happened for years was the coach Matt Bebbington said after he saw his and Roger Hancocks side keep up their 100 record in their final match before half-time, but it wasnt as easy as it sounds. Injury struck the side again and this time it was blindside flanker, Charlie Haines who pulled up with a groin strain minutes before kick-off and was replaced by the towering Jimmy Walker. Wilmslow were without Sam Jafarian, Ryan Edge and Sam James but all four players should be fit for the home game against Lancaster RGS in two weeks time. Sean Street and Max Harvey returned to the starting XV after missing out on starts in mid-week against Rydal Penrhos.
Olly McCall had heavy strapping on his thumb during the warm up but it didnt seem to affect him in the opening exchanges of the game as one of McCalls trademark dummy passes set up an early break for Wilmslow which ended with Tom Hudson being halted by two Wirral defenders. Bebbington animated as ever on the side lines was calling for Wilmslow to keep their composure and pressurise Wirral more and moments later the best chance of the half occurred. Wilmslow were given a penalty which the quick thinking Sean Street took and found Ant Walker who produced another twisting run which saw him accelerate to the line only to drop the ball 5 meters short. After this the opening period had little imagination and creativity from either side. Wirral adopted a kicking game and aerial ping-pong ensued. This came to end when Dan Thomas caught the ball in one hand and bulldozered through tackles and offloaded the ball to Sam Broster who broke from the line but was unfortunate not score. The good work came to nothing, but it was
illiant rugby all the same. Olly McCall missed a penalty kick to get points on the board as did Wirral, who later in the first half had a chance to score a try themselves after a break from the scrum saw the ball go from right to left, but McCall made a great tackle to deny the home side. The enthusiastic start Wilmslow had made started to pieter out and Coach Bebbington was not pleased with his sides performance as Wirral missed another golden chance to score a penalty kick. Eventually 5 minutes from half-time Wirral did make a kick to give the hosts 3 point advantage at the interval after a long scruffy spell that featured half a dozen re-set scrums. This was the first time Wilmslow had been down at the break.
Wilmslow need to show a different side of themselves in the second half as they knew they had to come from behind to win the game. They started off the half
illiantly as Tom Fantom barged his way through and won himself a penalty which McCall kicked in the corner. From this Wilmslow got the ball rolling in terms of point scoring. The 1st XV won the resulting lineout and drove Tom Fantom forward; clutching the ball to his chest towards who rapidly popped the ball to his right which gave Oskar-Hirskyj Douglas a clear run to the line to score. Sam Broster, looking as lively as ever nearly sparked off another move, but again found no way through. Sam Rodman, who replaced Callum Hubbard on the 41st minute, linked up with Max Harvey for Wilmslows second try of the game. Rodman flung his arm out to hand-off the on rushing defender and offloaded the ball to Max Harvey who surged through the defence and found Jimmy Walker who touched down. Will Batterbury (who came on to replace Street) kicked the conversion. Walker again broke straight from the restart and now Wirral were the side that looked rocked, but the attack broke down once more.
Bad news for Wilmslow came mid-way through the second half as Olly McCall had to leave the field of play due to a reoccurrence of his thumb injury. The away sides agony turn to joy as their third try in quick succession was scored by substitute Luke Tyrell. Street, back on for McCall, broke from the scrum in the corner to find Tyrell who crossed the line moments after coming on. Jordan Chappell seemed to listen to Matt Bebbingtons advice before the game and a combination of himself and open-side flanker Sean Klein put more pressure on the Wirral and lead to Ethan Harding breaking but was stopped in his tracks. Nevertheless, Wilmslows skipper did score after the ball passed through the hands of Street and Batterbury only for Hudson to cut back inside and pop the ball up to allow Harding to run into the empty space to score another quick-fire try for 22-3. Another try was around the corner, U16 Will Batterbury, who moved from scrum half to fly half produced a superb solo effort. Fantastic vision and a lovingly judged chip from mid-way inside the Wirral half gave him the chance to sprint past the Wirral defence and having completed this task dived on the ball to score and converted his own try to take Wilmslow out of Wirrals reach.
Character. The word used by Bebbington and Hancock to describe Wilmslows 2nd half performance. They were disappointing in the first half, but came out and produced a sensational second half performance with 5 tries unanswered tries. It was a perfect way for Wilmslow to end the first half-term of the new rugby season as they maintained their 100 record.
Wilmslow: T. Hudson; J. Chappell, S. Broster, E. Harding (capt), A. Walker, O. McCall, S. Street, M. Harvey, T. Fantom, C. Hubbard, D. Thomas, O. Lee, J. Walker, S. Klein, O. H-Douglas Subs: S. Rodman, W. Batterbury, L. Tyrell