An average season despite cup victory

Weston Rugby Club enjoyed an average season in the league, but won the Somerset Cup and were runners-up in the Bristol Combination Cup.

IN A campaign which started reasonably well, Weston’s league season can only be described as mediocre.

During September and October they won five from their nine matches but were successful in only six others during the remainder, with one draw. The fact was that they were unable to beat any of the top six teams and they eventually finished a disappointing ninth from 14 in National 3 South West.

Paul Redman, the club’s head coach, who was assisted by Jon Bamsey and Paul Jones, described 2010/11 as a season of ‘ups and downs’ and that, apart from Hartpury College, the team had opportunities to beat every other team in the league. But a lack of consistency prevented a higher finish.

However, on the bright side, a stunning performance at National 2 club Taunton took them to the Somerset Cup final where they overcame Cleve won by 41-19 to complete a hat-trick of victories in the competition. They were also beaten finalists in the Bristol Combination Cup.

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Another plus was the all-action displays by skipper George Sparks. The No 8 always led from the front and was, unsurprisingly, the top try scorer with 11.

The other leading touch-downs were made by Paul Sprague (9), Jamie Rudkin and George Wright (8 each), Richard Bignell (6) and five each for Ashley Russell, Matthew Burns, David Swann and fly-half Games Mackay.

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Mackay was, once again, the leading points scorer with 211 despite missing 13 games through injury. The 21-year-old has now scored 525 points in 61 matches.

It was also a season of celebration for two players, who both reached 200 first team appearances.

Left wing Sprague, who joined the club from Old Redcliffians in 2003, and scored his 80th try during the campaign; and Russell, who became the second mini to earn a club cap having started his career in the Seasiders’ Under-9s.

At the other end of the scale was centre George Kimmins who has risen from the Under-8s to make his senior debut at Barnstaple; and prop Jake Whatley from the Under-9s who came off the bench at Bournemouth.

In an interesting statistic, of the 54 players who appeared for the first team during the season, 31 were former juniors, and there are more to come.

Russell also topped the appearance list 31 of the 32 matches played. The other leading appearers were Sprague (28), Joe Waterman (27), Steve Donegan (26), Sparks (25), Andrew Glen (24), Wright, Jack Conway and Swann (23 each) and 20 each for Craig Withers and Ross Bennett.

Another success for the club was that the United XV, under the tutelage of Robert Hedges and Chris Heath won promotion from Somerset 1.

Skipper Stuart Board’s team won 24 of their 26 matches, scoring a total of 1,137 points against 294, and despite being docked 15 league points due to administrative errors they finished in second place and will join Nailsea and Backwell in the Somerset Premier League next season.

Centre Chris Young led the points scoring with 246 and has now amassed 814 in 79 matches since his debut in 2006. The 24-year-old also scored most tries with 20. Other leading try scorers were James Arnold (14) and flanker Eddie Saunders with 12.

Flanker James Matthews made most appearances with 20, followed by David Taylor and Young (19 each), Saunders and Darren Doughty (18 each), Simon Hudson (17), Luke Grimes, David Steele and Jake Whatley (16 each), Edmund Barker (15), Board (13) and Chris Hurd (12).

The Athletic XV, skippered by Grahame Hill and managed by Wally Bingham won nine of their 20 matches in Somerset 2 North and finished in seventh place.

Their top points scorer was colt Dan Prime with 62 followed by Chris Young (56) and their leading try scorers were Darren Hancock (9) and Prime (7).

Most appearances were made by Hill and Richard Frost (15 each), Prime (14), Darren Burns and Rob Blackborrow (13 each).

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