Lydney Pilfer Points In Eight Try Thriller
By Rich Hynes
Report by Tony Russell, and photos courtesy of Andrew Collins
These two sides had not played one another since 2004, and interestingly, there were survivors from both teams in the starting lines-up. One of them being Ash Russell
, who led Weston out in his 250 th. match for the Seasiders. A highly entertaining hard fought close contest ensued with both sides scoring four tries, and the match being decided on a very controversial decision…but more of that later.
The home side weathered early Lydney pressure. Trigg missed a penalty after 30 seconds only but Weston took the lead after 9 minutes with a Mackay penalty and increased this after 15 minutes. Webber intercepted a careless pass from Arnott and set off on a 50 metre gallop. As the cover converged, he found winger Jones in support, who burnt off the defenders for a fine try, improved upon by Mackay. The lead became 15-0 when Smee barged over following forward pressure. Lydney responded with a Wicks penalty to trail 15-3 but Mackay responded in kind after 35 minutes for an 18-3 lead. This became 18-10 on the stroke of half time when Vine, another survivor from 2004, got on the end of a series of opposition moves for an easy run in when possession was retained, and the ball moved from side to side until Weston ran out of defenders.
Weston opened the second half scoring after 45 minutes with another Mackay penalty which Wicks matched on 52 minutes. Weston 21 Lydney 13. Jones scored a second try after 55 minutes, running effortlessly around Vines’ weak tackle to touch down for a 26-13 lead, but this preceded a fifteen minute purple patch by the visitors which saw them score three tries as Weston went to sleep. O’Connell, who had replaced the ponderous Hannam, showed fine speed as he profited from a blind side break to run some 50 metres for a fine score which was improved to close to 26-20. They took the lead following another concerted attack when Bert Scriven, loitering in the backs and slowing all momentum for the receivers outside, managed to flop over from close range. It’s a good job he did. If he’d not made it, he’d have been walking back to Severnside! Wicks converted, but the same player was unable to convert a second try from the speedy O’Connell, who had been an inspired substitution. The visitors now led by 32-26 but Weston, to their credit, finished the stronger.
Concerted pressure close to the Lydney line finally resulted in a second try for Smee, his sixth of the season. Mackay converted for a 33-32 lead with three minutes to go……enter Claire Hodnett !!
The lady referee, on exchange from the Midlands had, in the opinion of both sides, enjoyed a very good match, but the halo was about to slip. Weston had possession inside their 22. The forwards set up a rolling maul which was harshly deemed to constitute a “truck and trailer” indiscretion. If she had been on the other side of this maul, she would have seen that the final Weston forward, with the ball stuck to his stomach, had never detached from his colleagues as they ploughed inexorably up the field. Wrong positioning…wrong decision. Even the noisy but good natured away supporters, and there were a lot of them, agreed, but Wicks kicked the goal from 30 metres to steal the points. Lucky lucky Lydney!!!
On the stroke of full time, Mackays’ 52 metre penalty attempt drifted wide. Lydney 5 points, Weston 2…and one that sticks in the throat!!! On a positive note, a vastly improved performance by the home side, who will nevertheless rue the fifteen minutes of mayhem that let the visitors back into the game but they will take solace from the strong finish.
It was good to see midfield motivator Sylvan Edwards
back in the saddle. Price, who is returning to his old form as his weight returns, had a fine all round game, as did his colleagues on the front row as the much publicised threat of the huge Duncan Bell failed to materialise, and a sterling effort from newcomer Chris Webber, who had not been well all week, and who had run himself into the ground. Morrissey also had his best game to date.
Weston team…..Skelton, Bellek (Middlemiss), Smee, Edwards, Jones, Mackay, Waldon, Swann, Withers, Price, Glen, Bufton, Russell, Morrissey,(Fisher), Webber(Matthews).