Important win for the Seasiders

WESTON 26 pts BARNSTAPLE 21 pts - IN view of their league position, this was a must win match for Weston, and although they had to withstand a heavy bombardment at the end, they deservedly achieved success.

WESTON 26 pts


IN view of their league position, this was a must win match for Weston, and although they had to withstand a heavy bombardment at the end, they deservedly achieved success, together with a priceless bonus point for their four tries.

With injuries still on the agenda, coach David Healy had shuffled his midfield yet again with the return to the club of Matthew McQuaid and the shifting of Harry Warman to fly-half. Both players had a good hand in the victory.

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After Weston had pressed in the early stages, Barnstaple led through Luke Berry's 21st minute penalty, but were soon overtaken.

George Sparks broke powerfully from a scrum 40 metres out and with more than a little help from McQuaid and Neil Trevena, James Arnold dived over at the right corner.

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Warman's conversion attempt was just wide, as was his earlier penalty attempt, so when the visitors were penalised inside their 22, acting skipper David Burge's option for the touchline proved to be a good decision. Andrew Richards' catch was driven and fellow lock Mike Kempton peeled away from the maul for his first try for the club.

Warman converted this time for a nine-point advantage, but before the break, Barnstaple had regained the lead with Berry's second penalty and his conversion of a try at the posts by Simon Watkins.

Weston started the second half poorly and a succession of wayward kicks cost them a try when Watkins took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to fasten on to a cross-field kick by Mark Galliford.

But then Weston started to awake from their slumbers. Jonathan Filer provided the pass to send Arnold sprinting down the right touchline and when he was stopped Filer again sent Dan Fry to the posts for the Seasdiers' third try. Warman again converted and minutes later Richards' touchdown was disallowed by referee McCrudden who was unsighted.

But the hosts kept going and on 70 minutes, Paul Sprague successfully interfered with the visitors' defence and Fry's pass out of the tackle sent Sparks on a 35-metre run to the line for the bonus point.

Warman converted and the score was now 26-18 with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, but Barnstaple were still much of a threat, and the home side was continuously under siege. But the defence held out until the fourth minute of time added when the Devonians had to be content with Berry's third penalty and their resultant bonus point.

Weston: N Trevena; J Arnold, J Filer, M McQuaid, P Sprague; H Warman, J Mortimore (K Middlemiss 72); D Price, D Burge (capt), S Williams, A Richards, M Kempton, E Smith (A Glen 67), D Fry, G Sparks. Replacement not used: J Gallagher.

THIS was a valuable victory for the Seasiders who are gradually escaping from the doldrums.

The midfield defence was much improved, Warman's switch to fly-half was a success, and Filer had another good match. The pack was slightly inconvenienced at the set scrums and line-out possession temporarily dried up early in the second half. But the rest was more than satisfactory with back rowers Fry and Sparks putting in splendid performances.

They travel to Bournemouth on Saturday, not a happy hunting ground, but if they can continue their recovery, victory is not out of the question.

WESTON welcomed back Matthew McQuaid to their injury-hit midfield for the game against Barnstaple.

McQuaid (24) joined the Seasiders from Clifton in 2005 and returned to his former club two seasons later after making 38 appearances and scoring 17 tries.

He will be a valuable addition to the Weston ranks and he played a full part in the 26-21 victory.

Weston's first round match against Burnham in the Somerset Cup will be played at the Recreation Ground on Saturday, November 21 (2.30pm).

Keynsham 2s 22 pts

Weston Utd 37 pts

The United got back to winning ways after a couple of defeats but it did not look like they would in the first half hour when the Keynsham pack gave the Weston eight a torrid time going 10 points up in the first 15 minutes.

Luckily Weston dug in and weathered the storm and when they scored through scrum half James Biddle on the stroke of half time, a try expertly converted by fly half Chris Young the second half offered more hope than had been the case up till that point.

The second half was a different story with Weston being able to release their dangerous backs more often. This was due in the main to an outstanding performance by flanker George Wright who disrupted the home pack at every opportunity.

Weston took the lead for the first time when good work by full back Matt Burns and debutant inside centre Mitch Smith whose sublime pass put left wing Chris Hurd away. His deft chip and gather proved too much for the home defence as he expertly gathered to score near the posts to present Young with an easy conversion.

It was Young who bagged his own try shortly after when good work by number eight Gavin Simpson and flanker Dave Steele put the Hurd away. He was stopped just before the line but expertly flicked it up to the fly half for another score converted by himself who then bagged a couple of penalties. Keynsham reduced the deficit with a converted try but this was nullified when following a lineout a Young show and go put Smith in for a debut try richly deserved. Young again adding the extras. Westons final try was down to good work by outside centre Mike Leahy and Burns who put the dangerous Hurd in for his second and the Uniteds final score. Young missing the conversion. Keynsham managed another try towards the end of this engrossing encounter.

Crewkerne 1sts 52 pts

Athletic 5 pts

ONCE again a reduced squad of 13 men travelled this week to Crewkerne for this Somerset 2 encounter.

The Athletes had hoped for a full squad to turn around recent results and despite the two-man disadvantage they represented themselves well in the first half, conceding an early try and responding with one of their own by Darren Wheatley.

The remainder of the half was exciting rugby and despite challenging runs by Dele Ayodele, the 19-year-old making a promising debut and veteran Mark White, the Athletic lacked the finish.

At half time the team was in good spirits for the 20-5 scoreline and the prospect of A Larkin joining the team arriving late. The second half however saw the retirement of Elliot Monelle maintaining the two man deficit and with Crewkerne now realising their advantage continued to spread the ball wide where the lack of cover was evident.

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