Seven and Counting
Wanderers make it 7 wins on the bounce
Weston Wanderers have extended their unbeaten run to 7 wins, after some great team performances that proves there is still life in this bunch of old dogs yet…!
Three and oh… – with the Hornets fixture moved to Dec 29th, it allowed both teams to field strong sides to battle it out under the lights of The Nest, in front a sizeable crowd. And the first 20 minutes proved to be exactly that! Both teams trading blows with heavy hits and strong ball carries. Weston unfortunately lost Jake Whatley (who had been having a fine season in his new position of blindside), to a knee injury. Likely ligament damage, so sideline drinking for a while now Jake! With his departure, on comes Gav “the shark” Simpson. The pack then used their set piece strength to push a scrum over, Simpson taking the spoils. Conversion missed. Next on the scoresheet was Kirk Middlemiss, after charging down a kick, hacking it down field and beating the cover to the loose ball. Again, conversion missed. This seemed to stir the Hornets into action and they scored 2 tries in quick succession just before halftime. One converted, and led 12-10. Both teams had full benches, and with rolling subs at this level, it gave the older legs a well-deserved rest-bite playing on the quick 4G surface.
Second half kick-off from Weston went out on the full, Hornets scrum… Matt Burns interception and runs the length. And converts his own try. Normal action was resumed, and both sides continued to knock lumps out of each other. Burns was on the score sheet again 10 minutes later. A well-timed chip and chase, regathered and scampered over in the corner. Conversion missed. Hornets came back and threw everything at Weston. Eventually the defence was found wanting and they crossed for an unconverted try. With around 20 minutes to play, and 1 score in it… this match was always gonna go to the wire. Weston scored next through Paul Morrissey, after some strong ball carries from the forwards. The last 10 minutes or so, seemed to be the longest I’ve ever experienced! Hornets continual pressure eventually paid off with another unconverted try. However, the Wandies held on (JUST!!) for the last few minutes.
An entertaining and nerve-wracking match for players and spectators alike. No real bust-ups, but a very good strong and physical performance by both sides. Look forward to the return fixture.
Payback for Reds – having been well and truly beaten at Old Red’s earlier this season, the Wanderers had a score to settle. But it was Reds who started the strongest. They retained possession for 10 minutes and bombarded the Weston defensive line with wave after wave of attack. With the pressure absorbed, Weston went about working their way down the field. Strong carries, and a few close-range efforts thwarted, with Harry Nash eventually going over from short range. However, 8 yards sideways for 2 yards forwards clearly works for the Hungarian! Dave Steele bringing his kicking boots and added the extras. Jon Filer, you’re finished as our goal-kicker! Next up was James Matthews, in a different try to his normal ball-hogging effort at the back of a rolling maul. He actually used a bit of rugby skill and strength to bounce a would-be tackler and cross under the posts. Extras added. Weston had kicked into gear now and were playing some great rugby. Much to the amazement of everyone, Sam Waterman scored the next. Clearly he’d nicked a pair of Nolli’s boots to dance past a couple of defenders and then outpace the fullback (no quicksand or pingers going!). Steele added the extras. 21-0 at half time and Weston were in control.
The second half started much as the first had finished. A sweeping move by Weston saw the ball moved along the line to Waterman on the outside. A chip and chase, collected by Paul Sprague and offloaded out of contact to Darren Hancock, for him to stride over. Not bad for an average age of 38 between the 3 players. Steele added the extras. Adam Godfrey then scored out wide, just to annoy Steele who missed the conversion. James Matthews then threw a perfectly timed pass… to one of their players! Who ran in unopposed. They swiftly added a second, both of which were converted. Normal order resumed, and Weston stemmed the tide till the final play of the game. Stephen Donegan, who has played every game this season, carried 3 of their players over the line with him. Steele adding the extras.
A fantastic team performance, which was well praised by referee Dave Brooks. A few less breakdowns this time Brooksy!!
No Main event… – managing to get 1 twin out has been tough this season, but both Ben Main and Tom Main turned out for the Wandies. However, Tom shot his bolt and pulled a pinger within 2 minutes off the back of the first scrum!! Olly Gibbs joining a little earlier than he’d anticipated… good job your flight wasn’t late back! Both teams have had very good runs of late, and it was clear to see why Bristol Phones were there to have revenge for the defeat earlier in the season. On a pitch that is notorious for its heavy going, Weston eventually broke the deadlock through Simon Hudson. Kung Fu Panda using his bulk to go over from short range. Ben Main missing the extras. Phones responded and eventually worked the ball to an overlap which saw them score under the posts, extras added. The last kick of the half was a penalty to Phones, to lead 10-5. It was also the last action for Ben Main, who had thrown himself around all half, broken about 4 times and eventually decided his body had blown a gasket. Perhaps another 4 years till we see you again…?!
Weston came out firing in the 2nd half. Both Kirk Middlemiss and Tom Crossman hitting great lines to ghost through the defence and score. Both had a great afternoon in defence and attack. Steele adding the conversions and Phones were in an unaccustomed position of being behind. The bonus point try came through Stephen Donegan who along with Dave Price were having strong games. Pricey back to his usual barrelling self, throwing would be tacklers out of the way. Steele added the conversion. Weston were effectively then down to about 12 or 13 men, with Mingo hobbling and whinging all over the pitch, Waterman had played his usual glass card and rolled one of his chocolate ankles, and James Parker had taken a few hits after trying to mix it up with the forwards too often! The final Weston try came from Spedding who was set loose down his wing and outpaced everyone to the try line. Ahhh, the exuberance of youth! Conversion added. The match was now fully under control, but with dwindling numbers of able bodied players on the pitch and fitness levels being tested, Bristol Phones scored a couple of tries in the last 10 minutes. Not enough to secure a bonus point, but were gracious in defeat knowing they’d been in a physical battle.
The Wandies welcome Bristol Baba’s to The Rec next weekend… let’s hope this winning streak continues. Great work by everyone involved at the moment, and the team atmosphere is a pleasure to be a part of.