Late score seals victory

WESTON were ahead for the entire match at the Recreation Ground, but they came very close to losing it.

WESTON 34 pts


WESTON were ahead for the entire match at the Recreation Ground, but they came very close to losing it.

Coney Hill were always in the hunt and at 24-20 they had a try disallowed which robbed them of a probable victory.

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After that the Seasiders finished strongly. In the eighth minute of time added, James Mackay kicked a penalty and three minutes later, skipper George Sparks produced an individual try which settled the issue.

The visitors had started strongly but it was Weston who took the lead in the 16th minute. A couple of forward drives were rewarded with Andrew Glen’s try, converted by Mackay who went past his 100th point of the season.

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The fly-half added a penalty five minutes later but Coney Hill were quick to respond with centre Craig Overthrow’s try.

Weston then went to 18-5 with full-back Joe Waterman’s try following a break by Dewey Swartbooi. Mackay added the conversion but the Gloucester outfit were back in the match by the interval with a try by Danny Davis and a penalty from Paddy Knight.

But in the third minute of the second half, Paul Sprague’s run created a penalty and scrum-half Jack Conway took it quickly to score at the posts.

Mackay converted again and the Seasiders were looking good at 24-13. But in the 70th minute, wing Davis scored his second try for Ryan Barnett to convert and the visitors were now only four points adrift.

Then came their disallowed try, and with the match deep into stoppage time, Weston were lucky to escape.

But they took immediate advantage and although Mackay’s second penalty left Coney Hill needing a converted try to level, it was left to Sparks to field a clearance kick 40 metres out, then make ground through a tiring defence for his chip ahead to bounce fortuitously to enable him to dive over at the posts for a valuable bonus point.

Mackay’s fourth conversion was closely followed by the final whistle.

Weston: J Waterman, S Thompson, J Gallagher, D Swartbooi (J Reid 69), P Sprague, J Mackay, J Conway, D Swann (S Williams 69), C Withers, S Donegan, A Glen, A Russell, G Sparks (c), E Saunders, G Simpson (B Sparks 91).

This was not a good performance by the Seasiders, but, as usual, they kept playing to the very end and were rewarded with their eighth league win of the season.

But the video will reveal lots of errors which must be addressed. Their line-out, with Ashley Russell and Sparks in charge, went well but there were too many turnovers, wrong options and missed tackles.

They now have two matches away from home which could be difficult, especially at Chinnor on Saturday, but they will hope to add to their league points before returning to the Rec on March 5 when they receive Oxford Harlequins.

Weston’s match at Cheltenham in National 3 South West, postponed on January 29, will now be played at the Prince of Wales Stadium on February 26.

WESTON RFC’s treasurer Barry Sparks had played what he thought was his final first team match back in 2003 but Sean Bennett’s late withdrawal from the match against Coney Hill created a pressing emergency.

With the club’s United XV already en route to Keynsham, Sparks, now 57, was pressed into service and came off the bench to join his son George, the Seasiders’ skipper. It was Sparks senior’s 228th firs team appearance.

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