Weston gain losing bonus point in narrow away defeat

PUBLISHED: 09:41 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:41 12 January 2018

James Mackay.

James Mackay.

Copyright Andrew Collins 2016. All rights reserved

Weston were narrowly beaten by third-place Bournemouth, but returned with a losing bonus point.

Bournemouth 30 pts

Weston 27 pts

Despite a three-hour coach journey, Weston started this game against third-placed Bournemouth by far the livelier of the teams.

They stretched the home side’s defence and a break by Nel saw them run close to the line. With a try looking likely, Watkins was unable to gather a neat grubber kick just a yard short and all the early pressure brought was a penalty on seven minutes kicked by Mackay.

Bournemouth built some momentum and kicked a penalty of their own. The defensive work of both sides was effective and it was another 10 minutes before Weston took the lead once more through a second Mackay penalty.

Weston had rearranged their backs as player/coach Dixon was forced to retire with an aggravation of a hip injury. The away side’s backs continued to threaten, but it was the home side who were to retake the lead with a well-worked move for the first try of the game. The conversion attempt fell just wide.

Wresting momentum, Weston gained control of the kick-off ball, ran through a number of phases and released their backs with Jones coming into the line from full-back taking a well-timed pass and cutting through for a try.

Mackay’s conversion was successful and Weston took a 8-13 lead. As the clock ran into time added on, the home side exerted tremendous pressure from their burly pack and in the fourth minute of injury time squeezed over for a try in the corner to level the scores.

Weston had a great start to the second half and threatened again and again. Their efforts paid off following a great passage of driving play by the forwards, Jack Woodland stretched out to score Weston’s second try. Mackay’s conversion gave the visitors a seven-point cushion.

This seemed to stir Bournemouth and they were the better side for the next 15 minutes. They upped their work rate and played some good rugby, their ball carriers showing determination and providing some rapid off-loaded ball.

They scored a converted try with 21 minutes gone and were awarded a penalty three minutes later which was successfully kicked and brought the scores to 23-20.

With just 15 minutes left to play, Bournemouth continued to apply pressure and worked the ball through five phases and despite some determined defensive work by Weston, the home side scored their bonus point try, which was converted and gave them a seven-point lead.

Weston charged into attack and it was Jones who made a telling run to the line to score his second of the afternoon. Mackay made the conversion and with less than four minutes left, the game was poised on a knife edge and could have gone either way.

Weston attacked from the kick-off and Jones made another good break, but his pass fell agonisingly out of reach of supporting players and the chance was gone. Bournemouth regained possession and held on to the ball until the final whistle.

Weston had to be content with a losing bonus point and thoughts of what might have been. On the day some marginal decisions went against them and some careless play gifted possession to a good side.

This narrow defeat sees Weston drop to eighth position in SW Premier, below old rivals Brixham on points difference.

Weston should be optimistic for the remainder of the season in view of how close they have run strong opposition in their last two games, and should be confident that they have the ability of winning their next three games, which are all against sides below them in this competitive league.

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