Plenty to Chew over as league leaders return to the Valley
Match report by Mark Matthews and photos courtesy of Andrew Collins
Changes again to the United this week as Hobbs (Phil) and Hunt’s rum swilling antics burn Deacon out for Wright to make his long awaited debut, and Kung Fu Panda return to the second row. The long faced Burns (Darren) moves to the bench for retuning Lomax and beauty meets the beast here has Honey Monster Tony Cottle a long serving clubman makes his first appearance for the United in many years.
In fairness to Deacon the previous weeks game had taken its toll and a combination of that a dose of Barmaidtittiefeltus had render both knees useless. The returning Po was also well recovered having recuperated from his adventures at Tor on a diet of air pasties and jam less donuts. I hear tell that one local baker has invested considerably in the latest technology including a jam extractor, but yet to see the device.
Burns also on the bench was a really difficult selection as the miserable 9 had provided two great performances in the last few weeks, but selection is not always fair. Burns D was going to play his part in the afternoon’s story and at least I did not have to drive around town looking for him before the game started..
The pressure was on Reid to kick the afternoon off with a positive start. Taros Bulb still away in the land of the Kiwis, poor blokes, and me feeling emotional, Reid had to use all his skills to get the team motivated. Fag in the corner of the mouth, in a Gunner Heath style, he set about it dropping cones and looking angry.
Motivation was not the issue for the team and this game had been a target for a long time. Discipline would however be key and could the United continue the effort and progress made the previous week? The Chew were certainly up for the fixture and were league leaders for a reason, they are hard to beat.
The game kicked off in worsening weather conditions in front of a large crowd including a friendly travelling contingent from Chew with ex Weston Hooker Mitch popular as ever shaking hands. This game was also special for the Weston centre Marco Oupoh has it was to be his last game before returning home to France. Marco has entertained both 1st XV and the Untied this season with devastating counterattacks from centre, full back and wing. These magnificent displays of running rugby have fortunately be balanced, before I blow too much smoke up his hoop, with impressions of lady tennis players and premiership footballers, Marco you will be missed.
One team kick off to the other team and the team that didn’t kick off caught the ball and the game started. To be honest what was turning into a classic encounter was end to end with two well match sides but with little score, although many would argue that these make the best games. Young on 8 mins gave the United the lead with 3 points from a well struck penalty, and Hobbs kept the United in front with a fantastic cover tackle over the United line for a held up try. The United used the bench well swapping Cottle for Board, Whately for Doughty and continued circulating the players throughout in what was a war of attrition. Particular note was Whately’s Vesuvius nose which erupted claret yet again to leave Liv wondering what the Guinness world record is for shoving cotton wool up a single nostril.
Half time 3- 0 to the United and welcome back Sir Clive Reid. Reid’s half time pep talk was all inspiring as he started with……”I don’t know much……” we all agreed, but he continued with…..”about forwards line out play…..”still no disagreement there, what’s you point James?
The second half kicked off with ……..you know how this goes, but fair to say two teams were giving it their all in great style before Chew drew level with a penalty on 60 mins. 3 – 3. If there was a difference between the teams it was the United’s discipline which was holding firm and an advantage, if only slim was developing in their favour. Chew unfortunately were not doing anything wrong but some days it’s all about that final connection, pass kick, tackle and the smallest error is the opponent’s advantage.
The United finally pulled away with wing Burns M, in the right place for a try on 67 mins and Young collecting the extras. 13 mins to go and the United held out for a famous victory although both sides walked off winners in an excellent bruising encounter.
Players D Doughty, C Withers, D Price, S Board, S Hudson, D Steele, K Hobbs, G Wright, D Lomax, C Young(1*Pen, 1*Con), M Oupoh, S Waterman, M Burns(1*Try), P Sprague (c), C Fletcher
Replacements Used J Whately, T Cottle, D Burns