Seasiders secure double over All Whites
By Pete Sloman
Match report by Tony Russell, and photos courtesy of Andrew Collins
With the exception of the surreal 83-19 win against the Devon visitors in the corresponding fixture last season, matches against Newton Abbot are invariably tight affairs, and this was no exception.
Weston had pilfered the match at Rackerhayes by one point earlier in the season but their opponents arrived full of confidence following a winning five match streak.
Spectators who had lingered in the clubhouse at kick off time must have been confused to see a 7-5 scoreline after only five minutes! Weston scored after one minute. N.A spilled the kick off and interplay between the backs and forwards resulted in a try under the sticks for flanker Morrissey, converted by Mackay.
From the restart, the home side immediately attacked again, but on this occasion, a potential try scoring movement was butchered with an inside pass to an opposing player instead of a simple pass to an unmarked runner, and the visitors progressed 70 metres back up the pitch to set up position on the home line from which they managed to rumble over for a try, reputedly touched down by Newman. The conversion was missed.
From the restart, the same unfortunate N.A. forward who had knocked on at the kick off repeated the operation for Weston to regain possession, progress down the field and win a penalty which Mackay slotted…10-5 to the home team. This was swiftly reduced two minutes later when May responded in kind for the visitors but three more penalties from Mackay after 22, 26 and 35 minutes stretched the home lead to 19-8. Weston then enjoyed a long spell on the N.A. line, putting pressure on the visiting scrum, whose extremely large prop forward, a.k.a. James Ginster, popped up regularly like toothpaste in a tube, accompanied by frenzied shouts from the very decent crowd for a penalty try that didn’t materialise. NAB cleared their lines to bring up halftime.
The visitors struck first on the resumption when they managed a respectable rolling maul for veteran forward Cole to get the touchdown and his side to trail 19-13. Strangely this was to be the only score of the second half as the game was played out predominantly in midfield, with neither side threatening, not a single kick at goal from either side, and defences on both sides holding sway.
With eight minutes remaining, Weston were reduced to 14 men when Morrissey petulantly kicked the ball all of 3 yards, probably out of frustration following a stoppage. The gesture was enough to earn him a yellow card from the referee who’d been standing next to him!
Ridiculous….the flanker will doubtless be making the “punishment” chocolate cake for training on Tuesday and be receiving gratuitous lessons in anger management and the eternal gratitude of his team mates.
NAB kicked the resultant penalty to within five metres of the Weston line, where they stayed for the rest of the game. Several lines-out, scrummages and penalties were repelled as they ran everything in search of the necessary try, hopefully within kicking distance for May to convert and steal the win. With two minutes remaining, Weston also lost Sparks as the referees’ patience expired amid calls for a penalty try from the highly excitable claque of travelling supporters. Fortunately consistency ruled. Weston hadn’t got the penalty try in the first half and NAB didn’t get one either in the second half. “What goes around comes around” The remaining six Weston forwards dug in and saw out the remaining minutes….the expected close match had happened as predicted.
Weston team…Skelton J., Mackay R., Middlemiss, Edwards, Watkins, Mackay R.,(Bennett), Smee, Swann, Withers, Price (Donegan), Bufton, Hudson (Main T.), Cox, Morrissey, Sparks.
Weston are away at Old Redcliffians next Saturday March 8th.