Wirral 12 Billingham 27

WIRRAL suffered their second defeat at home this season against a well organised Billingham team whose defence enabled them to stifle any Wirral attack.

It became evident, early in the match, that Billingham were intent on getting the ball wide to their wingers but after absorbing the early pressure it was Wirral who scored first when from a 5m scrum, Josh Stead stole round the blind side to score wide out and this was well converted by James Annetts.

In playing their expansive game, the ball was quickly spun left and Billingham winger, Tom Briggs weaved his way through the Wirral defence before scoring 10m from the posts.

The conversion attempt was charged down. 7-5 (33 minutes).

Two minutes later, Tom Briggs scored again when a chip over the Wirral defence gave the away side a three on one chance of collecting and with the luck of the bounce in their favour gave the winger his second try and his team a 7-10 lead at half-time.

The Billingham number eight forward, Dan Dixon was having a big influence on the game with his charging runs and pick-ups from the base of the scrum.

It was he who scored the third try after good inter passing from his team mates and was the only try converted by Dan Finney.

The bonus try point came in the 53rd minute when Dixon again broke through tackles and well timed passes saw Matthew Kirby cross in the corner, 7-22.

Ironically, in the scrums, Wirral had the advantage and were able to push the Billingham scrum backwards many metres but could not get any meaningful possession close to the opposition line.

Playing against the wind in the second half, Wirral looked to control the ball but on too many occasions the ball was lost.

The 60th minute saw Wirral lose their influential back row player, Rob Pearl and from the next scrum, Billingham broke through the middle and set up Adam Gardner to score in the corner. 7-27 (67 minutes).

The final minutes of the game saw Wirral at last putting pressure on Billingham and were finally rewarded with a push over try, scored by Stuart Gratton, the conversion just failed from wide out.

This was a disappointing result for Wirral as the injuries begin to pile up and next week face the long trip to Sandal.