A disappointing day for Weston after their recent good form
Weston’s journey to Maidenhead, for the game which would take them to the mid-point of the season, was complicated by the closure of the M5 and a road traffic accident in the long diversion.
Although such a long coach trip is not ideal preparation for a rugby match this offers little by way of explanation for Weston’s lacklustre performance.
On the artificial surface at Maidenhead, Weston attacked well from the kick off and Watkins and Spelman regained possession and Weston drove at the home defence and then moved the ball wide. They looked threatening but a home side clearance kick put Weston under pressure, they kicked for touch and were caught flat footed as Maidenhead took a very quick line out, moved the ball into space and crossed in the corner for the opening try.
Weston worked hard in response and had two chances to score but their finishing let them down. Maidenhead regained momentum and their forwards and backs combined at speed with some neat and accurate offloads and they opened up the Weston defence to score their second try.
They repeated the trick and whilst most of Weston’s tackling was good, Maidenhead always seemed to have two players in support who were able to take the offload and create spaces. They scored their third try on 27 minutes and Weston seemed set for a long and difficult afternoon.
The visitors did move up a gear and replacement prop Rukhadze was on hand to get the touch down after a series of forward drives . Mackay’s conversion trimmed the lead, but Maidenhead continued their expansive and swift style and score their bonus point try on the stroke of half time.
Weston were undone in the first five minutes of the second half as the home side ran in two well worked tries. Any chance of a comeback looked slim but hopes remained alive when Watkins was put away down the left wing to score his seventh try of the season
Maidenhead were not to be thwarted and they continued to attack with great speed and their passing and offloading was very effective as they ran in two more tries taking their score past 50.
Weston were showing some grit and they worked hard to get into a good position and from a line out they worked through forwards and backs and after 10 phases of play it was Mike Hocking who touched down from short range for his seventh try in five games.
If Weston thought that they might prise Maidenhead apart they were disappointed as the home side turned on the style again and score two quick tries.
Weston were desperate to take something from the game and ran and ran, carried hard and eventually created an opening and quick passing and a mismove saw Robbie Mackay just get through for a fourth try earning a bonus point.
This was a very disappointing afternoon for Weston who had really got their season going in the previous four games. Other results were helpful to them and as a result of this heavy defeat they only drop one place to 7th in the league. They had plenty of time to reflect on their below par performance as route-master Chris Heath guided the coach via Oxford to avoid the huge congestion due to road closures
Weston will need a much better performance on their home track next week against a side that gave them a severe lesson at the start of the season as they entertain Newton Abbot in the first game of the second half of the season and the last game before the Christmas break.