Wanderers Back to Winning Ways
Plenty in the tank sir...
It was the usual weekly debacle of player availability, late changes, call-ups, cat herding, properties to be secured and even a bit of Saturday morning player trading with the Development. Despite this, the Wanderers pulled together and produced a very gutsy performance against a significantly younger (AKA lighter/faster) Yatton side. But with 12 forwards and 3 backs (including the tubby funster twins of Waterman and Hancock), Weston dominated the physical exchange to prevail. Referee Dave Brooks commented after the game… “I’m not used to refereeing a side who take the ball into quite so much contact”. I reminded him of our generally rounder shaped players and that we were thinking of him by not playing from touchline to touchline…
The Wandies had a solid set piece all day, with the welcome return of the Big Bird Aaron Collins and Cakey Jake Whatley on the flank. Benny making his “700 and something” appearance hit all his lineouts and stole a couple of scrums… plenty of rugby life in the baker yet! In the backs we collected Adam Godfrey from Heathrow Airport after a stint in NZ, following his wife Binnie. Welcome back Godders, you had a solid game.
The opening exchanges resulted in a change of pitch after 10 mins, as unfortunately one of the Yatton players broke his collarbone and couldn’t be moved… speedy recovery from all at Weston. Playing down the increased slope of the alternative pitch, Weston opened the scoring via Cakey who launched himself at boot-laces level from short range. Godfrey adding the extras.
Weston continued to exert the pressure in the forwards, with the likes of Donegan, Cradock, Wheatley (senior) and Hudson using their “size” advantage to barrel through wannabe Yatton tacklers. However, the occasional forced pass went to ground handing possession back to Yatton. Wheatley (junior) took on the puppeteer duties at fly half (not required anymore Semi Bill Filer) as he deemed his handling skills to be the best of a bad bunch. Weston thwarted a couple of promising attacks from Yatton, to then mount one of their own. Godfrey on hand wide out to scamper over. Good job we had a physio bag as he used a roll of tape as his kicking tee to add the extras (definitely don’t need Filer!). 0-14 at half time and Weston knew they had to work hard up the hill to maintain the lead.
From the kick-off Big Bird let out an almighty yelp as he knocked on. The ball back to Yatton and a very lame excuse of a tackle from Waterman let their pacey winger dance back inside and score under the posts… not a great start to the half. In the ascendancy, Yatton now threw everything at Weston. However, great defence from Chris Ashworth and Sam Rathbone (both playing out of position on the wings), James Matthews at scrum half and Robbie Blackborow keeping Yatton at bay. They did however eventually score with what was believed to be a forward pass by the Weston players, however the referee confirmed the hands had delivered it backwards. Missed conversion and it was 12-14… squeaky bum time with 20 to play. In previous matches the Wandies have tended to run out of steam and let oppositions run in a number of tries.
However, the Wandies regrouped and started to retain possession. With 10 minutes on the clock this turned into points. Great hands through Hancock and Hudson to Cakey to offload out of contact to Waterman who beat the defender to then sprint clear (surprisingly Yatton don’t have quicksand on their pitch) and score under the posts. It was definitely 50m according to this writer… but the players may comment otherwise! Extras added by Godfrey and 9 minutes to hold on. The lads did exactly that and camped in the opposition half. In fact, all resources were thrown into securing the bonus point try. A couple of very close efforts that didn’t come to fruition.
All in all, a great team performance from 1-15, however for his ball carrying and general play Jakey Cakey gets man of the match. More numbers needed, but the team proved they can dig deep when required. And with wins across the board for all senior teams, it was a great weekend for WSM RFC.