Weston reach the final of the Webb Ellis Somerset Senior Cup final with outstanding performance against Old Redcliffians
Weston and Old Reds travelled to Gordano RFC for this much anticipated Somerset cup semi final match. Weston had secured the championship of SW1W the previous Saturday when they beat Teignmouth and will be playing in National 3 South – the league that their opponents will become champions of if they secure one more win from their 4 remaining fixtures.
This made Weston the under dogs, an unusual position for them to be in this season.
Old Reds set off at a cracking pace and Weston’s defence was tested by both Old Reds strong forwards and their rapid backs, but Weston’s defence, as in so many games this season, was equal to the task.
It was some 5 minutes before Weston got their hands on the ball and when they did they made good ground and were awarded a penalty about 35 metres out which James Mackay kicked to give Weston an early lead.
Old Reds are not the leading side in their league for nothing and they pressed hard. Time and again they recycled the ball but Weston’s tackling was superb and Old reds found it hard to get across the gain line. Eventually they did make a break and the attack was stopped but the referee determined that Weston had infringed. Groves stepped-up and took the penalty and the scores were even once more with 15 minutes gone.
Old Reds settled into this pattern of play and were awarded another penalty. James Mackay was yellow carded as a result. This time Groves’ kick went wide.
Being down to 14 men seemed to galvanise Weston and they began to put plenty of phases together and to build momentum. With just over half an hour gone they were awarded a penalty and full back Chris Young took over the kicking duties and put Weston ahead by the narrow margin of 6-3.
Restored to 15 men Weston played more fluently and worked the ball wide to the left wing. The ball was quickly recycled and Mackay passed a long ball to Nel whose pass was right out of the top drawer as he spun a long pass at incredible speed to right winger Robbie Mackay who had room to get round his man and score a wonderful try. James Mackay converted and the ref blew for half time with Weston having a 13-3 advantage.
Weston expected an onslaught in the second half and old Reds provided it. However Weston’s pressure resulted in another penalty kicked by James Mackay and Weston had now opened up a 13 point lead.
Old Reds attacked relentlessly but Weston’s defence was rock solid. They did concede a penalty which Groves kicked and after 16 minutes Weston’s lead had been cut to 10.
The remainder of the match was played at frenetic pace with both sides attacking hard and defending tremendously. A long penalty kick took Old Reds near to the Weston try line and from the resulting line out Rayner crashed through to score a disputed try. Weston players and their supporters were convinced that Old Reds had dropped the ball before grounding it but the try stood and Groves made the conversion. This brought Old Reds to within a single score, but Weston were not be thwarted. They defended as resolutely as they had all game, they won a turnover and then a penalty and with no time left Mackay put the ball into touch as the ref blew for the end of a thrilling and close encounter.
Both sides should be proud of producing such an exciting match. Old Reds will be very disappointed but they still have chances for glory this season as they look certain to gain promotion to national 2 and they also have a place in the Bristol Combination cup final to come.
Local TV channel Made in Bristol will be showing highlights of the game this coming Friday 17th March
Weston continue their wonderfully successful season. This was their 24th game this season without defeat. They will be delighted to have beaten a full strength Old Reds, a side who have lost only three matches this season in the league above, and who showed a high level of skill and quality throughout.
The second semi final will be played at Weston on Wednesday 15th between Bridgwater and Clevedon. Weston have a break this week and their next game will be played at Midsomer Norton on 25th March