Weston RFC 2005-2006 review

PUBLISHED: 11:27 22 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:19 24 May 2010

AT the turn of the year Weston were odds-on favourites to return to the National League. They had won all their matches in South West 1, most by a considerable margin

AT the turn of the year Weston were odds-on favourites to return to the National League.They had won all their matches in South West 1, most by a considerable margin, and their fly-half Jason Dick was not only approaching 200 league points with his immaculate goal kicking, but providing his equally talented back division with many scoring opportunities.The Seasiders were also in a good position to get themselves to Twickenham for the final of the Powergen Intermediate Cup.But the second half to the season started with bad news. Having already lost their American scrum-half Tyson Meek who had returned home, Dick failed to arrive following his Christmas break in his native New Zealand and the momentum gradually ebbed away.A good cup win in Cornwall against the professionals of Mounts Bay promised much, but it was the narrow single point victory at the then bottom club, Cheltenham, which revealed certain deficiencies and from then on, things started to go wrong.What followed was failure at Dudley Kingswinford in the last eight of the Intermediate Cup, a salvaged draw at Clifton, a poor performance at Oxford Harlequins and defeat against Hornets 24 hours later in the quarter-final of the Somerset Blackthorn Cup.All this led to four consecutive league defeats and all hopes of promotion, or even a play-off place evaporated.The fact was that the teams in the lower half of the table were no match for Weston, even when weakened by injury. But when they came up against the better sides, such as Chinnor, Clifton and Basingstoke, they were unable to close out matches which they might have won.Apart from the half-back problems, they also suffered misfortune late in October when skipper Andrew Glen was sidelined with an acute back problem. At the time, No 8 Glen was playing the best rugby of his career and it is hoped that the surgery he underwent will enable him to resume in September.Weston certainly missed Jason Dick after Christmas. Not only was he heading for an individual record of points, but so were his high-scoring backs. But Takura Madamombe scored just four league tries in the New Year, Paul Sprague three and Matthew McQuaid only one.Mike Lowis, a recruit from Clevedon, took on the No 10 shirt for a while and the experienced James Reid continued, but the supply had already become more scarce due to Dick's absence. Coincidentally, both Lowis and Reid scored 87 points.But despite the overall disappointment, there were some good individual efforts. Flankers Michael Denbee and Kevin Hobbs were consistently on form, as was Ashley Russell who was heavily relied upon at the line-out. David Cook, Gavin Simpson and Andrew Richards also put in some good performances, as did Belgrade-born Djordje Milenkovic in his first real season of rugby.David Burge came through well to eventually take over the captaincy and the 25-year-old hooker was well supported by props Alec Chase, Chris Derrick and Tim Mathias.Apart from Madamombe, McQuaid and Sprague, Goran Vucicevic performed admirably either at full-back or on the right wing and Alec Hughes will be pleased with his eight tries in 20 appearances.The scrum-half position was shared by Luke Hember and Ricky Jones who both performed well. Of the younger brigade, James Gallagher, a former Colt, showed promise on his transfer from Clevedon, as did lock Craig Chase. Other youngsters to catch the eye were Paul Morrissey and Matthew Burns.The records show that Weston won 23 of their 32 matches, drew one and lost eight. They easily broke the points and try-scoring records with 1,081 and 152 respectively.Russell made most appearances with 30, closely followed by Cook, Denbee and Chase (29 each). Sprague played 28 and McQuaid, Burge, Madamombe and Richards appeared on 25 occasions.Sprague and Madamombe were leading try scorers with 15 each. McQuaid touched down 13 and Cook eight. Dick was top points scorer with 204.The Colts enjoyed a successful season under the tutelege of Chris Heath and Paul Whatley. They won the Somerset Cup for the third time running and the club can look forward to the talents of players such as Chris Young and fly-half Ben Main who become seniors next term.The United had a poor season, winning only eight matches from 25 and finishing bottom but one in the Merit Table, their lowest ever position. Sam Hedges made most appearances with 20, followed by Craig Chase and skipper Stuart Board with 19.Matthew Deacon (18), Mark Matthews and Dan Hewlett (16 each), Luke Hember (15), David Taylor (14) and Darren Doughty (13) were the other leading appearers.Former Colt Hedges topped the try-scoring list with 10 and the leading points scorers were James Reid (58), Hember (56) and Sam Lloyd-Jones (50).The Athletic played only three matches, winning two and Paul Burns' Wanderers won eight of their 20 matches.Leading their appearances were Rich Bishop and Rod Mintern with 19, Mark Dodds and Howard Evans (18 each), and Mark Walker, Darren Wheatley and Martin Durnell (15 each). Bishop was top try scorer with 10 and Dodds headed the points list with 73.

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