Weston secure win in the mud
By Pete Sloman
Match report by Tony Russell, and photos courtesy of Andrew Collins
Both sides deserve credit for putting on what was a pretty respectable game of rugby in horrible conditions…a heavy sticky ground, a chill wind blowing across the pitch which made throwing in and kicking for touch very difficult, and a mud caked “King Edward” of a rugby ball that hampered good handling. Nevertheless a sizeable crowd braved the arctic conditions to see the home side complete the double over their Midland visitors.
The Malvern side is an enigma, and certainly should not be in the bottom three. They have had some very close games against the top sides. Their set scrum is solid and competitive and much improved from the previous encounter, they are hard to break down in defence, and they certainly don’t lack physical presence. Their problem appears to be one of breaking the gain line and scoring touchdowns, and on this typical January day, with attractive running rugby at a premium, the Weston forwards did what was needed, and what has come to be expected, scoring four unanswered tries as they broached the difficult conditions more effectively.
The first came after twelve minutes when Swann forced his way over following a series of rucks on the Malvern line. Kicking proved to be difficult and the conversion was missed. The second was a remarkable effort. From a lineout on the opposition 22 metre line, Sparks took the clean catch and the pack drove forward inexorably, the Midlanders’ scrummage apparently stuck in reverse gear, for Burge to touch down, and Mackay to convert for a 12-0 lead. This was reduced by 3 points after 35 minutes when fly half Dixon slotted a close range penalty.
The third try arrived half way through the second half when referee Dan Hobley, who in the opinion of both sides had an excellent game,
awarded a penalty try after the Weston forwards had once again battered the line, and the visitors scrum had capitulated after previous penalty awards. Mackay converted for a 19-3 lead. The fourth, and bonus point try came after seventy minutes when the forwards once again combined for Russell to get the important score, his third in the last three games, to signal the end of the scoring.
This was a workmanlike performance but the coaches will doubtless be pleased with the end result on a tricky afternoon.
Next week brings a difficult trip to Barnstaple.
Weston team…Bennett, Arnold, (Jones), Smee, Edwards, Watkins, Mackay, Waldon, Swann, Burge (c) Hobbs P.(Donegan), Somers (Glen), Russell, Eaton, Morrissey, Sparks.