Lack of a goal kicked proved vital

A lack of a consistent goal kicker proved to be Weston Rugby Club’s achilles heel as they were relegated from the National League.

DESPITE their brave fightback at the end of the season, Weston were eventually relegated from the National League.

Their Achilles heel turned out to be the lack of a consistent goal kicker for most of the campaign. Jack Skelton filled the bill early on, scoring 46 points in nine matches before departing, and the long term of the kicking problem led to defeats by two points or less in no fewer than six games, resulting in the loss of promising league positions.

James Mackay, who had scored 953 points from his 118 appearances, left the club for Clifton, and was not really replaced until February when Glenn Dickson returned.

But the New Zealander’s valuable 72 points in nine matches just failed save the day. Then there was the serious injury to skipper George Sparks at the end of last year, resulting in a nine-match absence.

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Centre Sylvan Edwards and scrum-half Hayden Tuttiett led the appearances list with 24 of the 28 matches played. They were closely followed by Harry Jones, Andrew Glen, Darran Crompton and Shaun Eaton (20).

Others reaching double figures were Ross Bennett (18), Matthew Watkins and Mike Hocking (16), Cronan Gleeson and Sparks (15), Ewan Bulger (12), David Price and Sam Coles (11), and Craig Withers (10).

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No fewer than 54 players appeared for the 1st XV, which is close to a club record.

The first XV scored only 70 tries during the season. Harry Jones topped the list with eight, followed by Edwards (6), Paul Morrissey, Sparks and penalty tries (5 each).

Of the 40 conversions, Dickson kicked 13 and Young 12, with Skelton converting 12 penalties and Dickson 11 from a total of 39. Dickson scored the only drop goal.

Selection was complicated at the start of the season. The departures of Withers, Mackay, David Bufton, Sam Smee and David Swann, together with the long term injury to Kirk Middlemiss were big losses and the new players took time to settle.

However, among these were props Streeter and Coles, hooker Hocking, No 8 Gleeson and back five player Bulger, who all became influential in a strong scrimmage.

Glen and Russell maintained their usual standards in the second row and there is more to come from the versatile Jones, who was the outstanding back.

But the Seasiders will have to regroup quickly in South West 1 to return to their former status. This will require much hard work together with the discovery of a 200-point kicker.

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