Weston 37 – 27 Cleve
From the kick off Cleve regained possession and exerted some pressure but the Weston defence was secure and when they regained possession it heralded a period of 20 minutes when they were rarely out of the Cleve half of the field and the home side had the lions share of the ball.
A neat chip kick by James MacKay just went begging but a second attempt at the same trick saw winger Robbie MacKay outstrip the defence and touch down inches from the dead ball line. The conversion attempt was just wide but on their next visit into Cleve territory Weston were awarded a penalty when the Cleve forwards killed the ball and MacKay’s kick for goal went between the uprights. With a quarter of an hour gone Weston were leading by 8 points to nil.
Some great play by Weston’s forwards and backs set up a good attacking position and Andy Glen stormed through the Cleve defence to touch down near the posts and with MacKay’s conversion Weston looked to have a comfortable lead.
The visitors had other ideas though and on their first visit to Weston’s 22 they won a penalty, kicked for touch and from the resultant line out their forwards set up a drive which resulted in Cleve’s opening try. The conversion was made. Weston had hoped to keep Cleve contained as the clock ticked down to half time but following good forward pressure they scored a second try which went unconverted. The side turned round with Weston holding a narrow lead.
Weston seemed to start the better side at the beginning of the second half and Mackay extended the lead with his second penalty, this time kicked from 40 metres out.
However rather against the run of play Cleve gained groundf and the powerful centre was put away on a great line and he scored near the posts. The conversion was scored and Cleve were in fronmt by a single point.
In recent games this might have sapped Weston’s confidence and determination but not today. They roared back into attack and could have scored twice before tuttiett made the final dart to touch down. The conversion from Mackay was good and Weston had retaken the lead.
Cleve struck back with their next attack and scored a try in the corner. The conversion attempt failed so Weston remained in front by a single point.
Weston again attacked and worked their way into the Cleve 22. The ball was recycled several times, forwards drove at the line three times and then Tuttiett released the backs. Watkins came in from the wrong wing, spun out of a tackle and raced to the line to score Weston’s bonus point try.
Cleve raised their game worked into the Weston half of the field and with less than five minutes of the game remaining they were awarded a penalty which was kicked and this brought them within a single score of Weston.
The hosts were in no mood to surrender their lead and the drove relentlessly at the Cleve line and eventually Rukhadze, on as a replacement for hooker Mike Hocking, drove through the Cleve defence to touch down Weston’s fifth try. The conversion attempt was just wide.
Weston now had a ten point lead and although Cleve strove to get a scoring chance Weston turned the ball over and kicked for touch as the game finished.
Weston thoroughly deserved this win against a Cleve side who started the day 7 places higher than Weston. However they came up against a side determined to prevail and credit goes to all the players and to the coaches whose hard work and game plan saw Weston turn in a much better performance than recent weeks. This bonus point win lifts Weston from 12 to 9th place and they should expect to progress up the table if they can produce this sort of form again in the remaining fixtures.
Updated 10:00 - 6 Feb 2018 by Rob Solomon