Express & Star

Walsall return to winning ways with a derby victory

Walsall brought an end to their losing streak with a convincing 45-21 home win over near neighbours Sutton Coldfield.


The hosts had fallen into the bottom half of Regional Two Midlands after a poor start to 2024 and came into the game on the back of three consecutive defeats.

Captain George Perkins ensured Walsall got off to a fast start with a powerful line break to score the first try of the game, converted by Mitch Carless.

Sutton Coldfield hit back with a try of their own before Neil Holden put the hosts back in the lead with another try, again converted by Carless.

After conceding another equalising try, Walsall got themselves ahead again thanks to Holden’s second try of the game, which was followed by Carless’ third conversion.

Walsall proved too strong after half-time, and extended their lead through tries from Callum Hoy and Ben Pitt. This time Carless was unable to convert on either occasion.

Despite another converted try for the visitors, fears of a comeback were eased when Perkins crossed the line for his second try to extend the lead to 38-21.

And within two minutes the scoring was complete, as scrum-half Dean Ainger scored Walsall’s seventh try of the game, allowing Carless to kick his fifth conversion.

Elsewhere in the division, Wolverhampton remain bottom of the table after losing 42-17 to fellow strugglers Mellish.

In National Two West, Joseph Dunn scored a late consolation try for Dudley Kingswinford in their 31-7 defeat at Camborne. Theodore Mannion kicked the conversion for DK. Old Halesonians remain winless in 2024 after their 26-17 defeat at home to Bromsgrove in Regional One Midlands.

Stafford maintained their unbeaten home record in 2024 with a vital 25-21 win over third-placed Newcastle (Staffs) in Counties One Midlands West (North).

William Turner, Robert Jones and Alfie O’Brien scored tries for the hosts, while Alex Rock kicked two penalties and two conversions.

Burntwood lost ground on the top two, going down 46-7 at Old Saltleians.

In Counties Two West (West), Willenhall closed the gap on league-leaders Newport Salop II with a 19-0 win at Oswestry.

Elsewhere, Rugeley were thrashed 85-3 by Market Drayton, and Stourbridge Lions lost 27-19 at home to Bromyard.

Walsall II were edged out 29-23 at Claverdon in Counties Two West (East). Eccleshall dispatched Aldridge 105-10 in Counties Three West (North), while Stone lost 30-15 at Shrewsbury II and Cannock were thrashed 39-5 at Cleobury Mortimer.

In Counties Four West (North), fourth-placed Wednesbury came out 27-24 winners in a close match against third-placed Stoke on Trent II.

St Leonards picked up their third consecutive home win, beating Essington 15-10 to move further away from the bottom three.

Jack Hunt (two), Christopher Thomas (two), Joseph Garratt, Adam Bowater and Gavin Mason scored tries as Bloxwich ran out 45-5 winners at Newcastle (Staffs) III, while Burntwood II lost 24-0 to Atherstone.

And in Counties Four West (South), Warley won 27-0 at Stourport, and Old Halesonians II won 22-10 at home to Five Ways Old Edwardians.