Weston slip to heaviest defeat of the season at bogey ground!
By Pete Sloman
Match report courtesy of Tony Russell
This particular corner of the South Eastern Riviera, as it is locally known, has never been a happy hunting ground for Weston, and so it proved as the visitors “slumped” to their worst defeat of the season in a scrappy, generally unsatisfactory match which they lost by 4 tries to 3. Weston started the stronger, and finished on top, but critically did not control the middle period.
A sunny still afternoon offered perfect conditions but both sides struggled to do justice to the elements, and the sparse crowd, although one hesitates to use the word. A “scattering” or “huddle” of spectators is less oxymoronic.
The early pressure came from Weston as their pack dominated and pressurised the home line. Multiple scrums and penalties were awarded, with no sign of a penalty try (the referee awarded one to Reds later under similar circumstances…perhaps it was too early in the game?) although the home flanker was sin binned and the visitors opened the scoring through scrum half Lomax after 17 minutes, converted by Skelton. Reds responded five minutes later when Gumbleton (yes…that’s a real name) benefitted from a decent bit of back play and a clever inside pass to cross. The try was unconverted but the home side took the lead on 32 minutes with the aforementioned penalty try, ostensibly awarded for wheeling the scrum….hmmm? 12-7 to the Reds, and a lead they were not to lose.
They opened the scoring after half time with a Brooks penalty to extend their lead to 15-7 but Weston closed the gap with a fine individual try from Skelton, who ran through Gumbledores’ weak tackle to score under the posts, and convert. 15-14 to the home side.
Things then went adrift. The departure of an unwell Price at half time appeared to have disrupted Westons’ normally solid pack, and the Reds found themselves with the lions’ share of possession for the next twenty minutes. The visitors’ lost Bufton to the sin bin as the referee evened things up and during this time, unconverted tries were scored by Poole and Hopkins which took the score to 25-14.
Buftons’ return heralded further Weston assaults on the home line. Burns went close following a rare back movement, but to no avail as the home defence stood firm. Then came another type of assault in a highly controversial moment. A clumsy tackle, (was it a short arm tackle ?, was it a shoulder charge ?) on Skelton by home skipper Root resulted in concussion for the WSM fly half who obviously, and obliviously, left the field.
Perversely, Root suffered possible twisted knee ligaments as he fell. He was helped off the field with no sign of a coloured card. Even more confusing was that play resumed with a scrummage!!!!
The visitors had the last word as they continued to batter the line and were rewarded when Bufton forced his way over in injury time following concerted forward drives. Lomax converted for the losing bonus point.
It’s a strange ground…Junior matches elsewhere on the playing field were played out in sunshine, which disappears from the main pitch at half time. To make things worse, the junior players steal all the hot water!!! Cold showers for the first team…TYVM!
Next week brings another away trip, this time to Worcester Wanderers, who after a shaky start in this League, appear to have acclimatised and have been getting some good results.
Weston team v. Redingensians Bellak, Watkins, Smee, Edwards, Jones, Skelton, Lomax, Swann ©, Withers, Price, Glen, Bufton, Fisher, Morrissey, Russell. Reps. Used, Hobbs, Webber, Burns.