Impressive home performance from Weston secures victory
By Pete Sloman
Twenty four points from James Mackay in excellent display. Match report by Tony Russell, photos courtesy of Andrew Collins. Photo shows Dan Waldon in his final performance for the Seasiders.
“ An intriguing match” on paper. The armchair pundits were split in their predictions, and it wasn’t surprising. Weston have yet to really hit their straps this season as they seek consistency. The Old Reds have enjoyed a good term to date, having racked up some good results and might have fancied their chances, but they found out that a day at the seaside is not always fun, games and ice cream as they were convincingly beaten in this local derby. The try count of only 2 to 1 does not do justice to Westons’ superiority and the control that they exerted throughout, and a constant stream of penalties resulting from territorial advantage and constant pressure, all kicked by Mackay, ensured that the “Seasiders” were duly rewarded. They were on the board within 3 minutes with their first penalty. Doubled their lead after 7 minutes in a similar manner and increased this to 13-0 with a converted try by Sparks on 17 minutes. Weston lost full back Skelton after 27 minutes when he was removed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital with a neck injury. It has since been confirmed that this is fortunately not as serious as first feared and we wish him a speedy recovery.
The visitors were themselves competitive during this period, winning ample possession. Their scrum was initially holding its’ own, (although it capitulated in the second half) but they were finding it hard to break the gain line and set up any viable attacking positions as a result of Westons’ splendid and structured defence. The normally lively Reds back row was invisible on the day, reduced to impotence as they found no avenues of attack. Mackay kicked a third penalty on the stroke of half time following a period of protracted pressure for a healthy 16-0 lead.
The visitors scored first after the break. In a rare spell of Reds pressure during which the referee awarded three quick penalties against Weston, his patience ran out on the fourth and flanker Russell was singled out for a visit to the sin bin. The Reds took advantage of their numerical advantage to score a try through full back Partridge in a rare threat to the Weston line. However the home side retrenched and continued to dominate. One scrummage was driven 25 metres as the Combination team forwards found reverse gear. Mackay kicked his fourth penalty on the hour, and after 75 minutes, the same player proved he is more than a kicker by touching down his own try….inevitably converted. He added a penalty on the stroke of full time to complete the scoring.
Mackay had kicked the points, but this was a total team performance with everyone sticking to the game plan, and every player buying into it in a committed and physical performance. The coaches will be delighted, but where was this attitude in the dreadful sub standard games against Brixham and Bracknell? Can we turn the clock back please?
Weston team….Skelton (Bennett), Bellak, Smee, Edwards, Jones, Mackay, Waldon, Swann ©, Withers, Price (Donegan), Glen, Bufton, Russell, Morrissey (Fisher), Sparks.