Wanderers made it 6 finals in a row when they ousted Bedok Kings in the first semi-final that was held at Queenstown Stadium last weekend to book their place in the Premiership Grand Final.

Wanderers entered the game against Kings as strong favourites, having won the previous two encounters 29-15 on 27th January 2018 and 33-16 two weeks ago. Both teams warmed up with intensity and focus before the game, and as the teams entered the fray, it was absolutely clear that every player was focused and had their eyes on the finals berth. During the early exchanges, Kings threatened menacingly. Kings’ scrum-half Azmi chipped and regathered the ball after a scrum, but the attack fizzled out after a couple of phases. Within 5 minutes of the first half, Kings thought they drew first blood. A forward runner play from one of the Kings forward saw him crossed the white line, however the referee deemed that it was no try as it was held up.

However, they were not to be denied the second time. After multiple scrum resets, a penalty was awarded to Kings, which they opted to kick for a line out. From the line out, the forwards drove hard towards the line and they were rewarded as lock Paul Vain crossed the whitewash for an unconverted try. Kings led 5-0. A respond was to be expected of Wanderers, who are the favourites to progress to the finals in this game, and responded they did. Wanderers regrouped and regathered their efforts as they started to pressurise Kings. A good grubber from Wanderers flyhalf Thomas Ingram saw fullback Kieran Sasiadek running through the Kings defence. From there, they managed to win a line out for themselves in the Kings 22. From the lineout, Wanderers ran a few forward runner plays before finally breaking through to score with their last one by their hooker Matt Humphreys. Wanderers drew level as they missed the conversion. All these happening within the first six minutes of the game.

Quickly afterwards, Kings had a kickable penalty inside the Wanderers’ half, however the kick missed by inches. As the teams traded blows, Kings came off worse for the wear as their fullback Naresh was forced off with a leg injury and was replaced by utility back Farhan. Soon after, Wanderers effected a good steal in the ruck and was awarded a penalty, which they kicked into the Kings 22. After a couple of phase plays from the lineout, Kings was penalised again in the middle of their own half. Kieran Sasiadek easily slotted over as Wanderers took over the lead 8-5.

As the teams took turns to run with the ball and traded infringements, Wanderers managed to secure another penalty in the middle of Kings’ half and once again, Kieran Sasiadek managed to convert the kick again as Wanderers led 11-5. Kings’ bad luck with injuries continued as their winger, Ezekiel Soh, had to be replaced by Maverick Lim, due to a knock he suffered. The backline replacements for Kings were wearing thin quickly with the first half not even over. With the first half edging to its conclusion, the penalty count started stacking up against Kings, as Kieran Sasiadek converted a hat trick of penalties, this time in off the post. Wanderers lead 14-5. 2 minutes before the end of the first half, a scrappy cross kick executed by Thomas Ingram was not cleanly cleared by Kings. Inside centre Jamie Harris pounced on this opportunity and managed to grab an unconverted try. Wanderers led Kings 19-5 as the half time whistled blew. It was obvious that ill-discipline and injuries had severely rattled Kings as they gave away 19 unanswered points after scoring the first try of the game.

After an intense team talk by their respective head coaches during halftime, the second half began. Wanderers was awarded an early kickable penalty but it was not converted. The first try of the second half came from an interception by Jamie Harris. All the good work that Kings did in effecting the steal in their own 22 was undone by the miss pass that they threw afterwards which led to the intercept. Jamie Harris had by now scored a brace in the game. Kieran Sasiadek managed to convert the try this time, however in the process of kicking the ball, he hurt himself and had to be substituted off. Wanderers led 26-5.

As the match progressed, it got bad to worse for Kings as they started giving away unanswered points. It seemed that they had conceded the game and had given up on trying to get back into the match. Soon after, a powerful solo run by Wanderers winger Jonathan Wong saw him beat numerous Kings players on the wing with his pace as he crossed over at the corner. The try was not converted, as Wanderers led 31-5. Kings made a couple of substitutions after the try. Kings did briefly try to mount a response after the restart with a series of quick tap penalties that saw them venture all the way into the Wanderers’ five metres mark. However, a knock on from one of their players saw their fightback fizzled out to nothing.

The only flash points came as the match was past its three-quarter mark. First, a tussle ensued after a late tackle by Wanderers lock Fathur, who was sin-binned for his efforts. Shortly after, a high shot by Wanderers replacement front row Hasif on Sam Lau’s face saw him sin-binned as well. Nearing the end of this semi-final, Wanderers was awarded a scrum inside Kings’ 22 after a good hit from replacement Reiner resulted in a knock on by Kings. They were awarded a penalty after dominating the scrum. Opting again for the scrum, they dominated it once more and was again awarded with a penalty. This sequence repeated itself once more as the referee had no choice but to award a penalty try to Wanderers after 3 repeated scrum infringements by Kings. Wanderers now led 38-5. The game then petered out as the referee soon blew for the final whistle.

Congratulations, Wanderers!