Neil's score settles the nerves

WESTON 19 pts BURNHAM 5 pts - A TRY by veteran scrum-half Neil Coleman early in the second half gave Weston some welcome breathing space against a Burnham side which were threatening a major upset in this first round match in the Somerset Cup.

WESTON 19 pts

BURNHAM 5 pts

A TRY by veteran scrum-half Neil Coleman early in the second half gave Weston some welcome breathing space against a Burnham side which were threatening a major upset in this first round match in the Somerset Cup at the Recreation Ground.

Coleman, now 38, was called into the team following the unavailability of Neil Trevena and Josh Mortimore, and the injured Jamie Biddle, and scored what was probably his easiest in his previous 305-match career.


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An unlikely strike against the put-in at a scrum 10 metres from the Burnham line allowed Coleman to saunter to the posts unopposed.

Harry Warman's conversion took the score to 14-0, but hitherto, the Weston scrimmage had been in extreme discomfort under the threat of the visitors' front row.

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Their props, Sam Coles and former Weston player Philip Hobbs, had posed immense problems and it took the introduction of Neil Lavender at tight head in the 66th minute to effect stabilisation.

Having given Weston the benefit of the south-westerly gale, Burnham opened with a 20-metre driving maul and for the first half hour they were on top, apart from the home line-out which was reasonably sound through Stuart Board and Daniel Fry.

But the hosts took the lead against the run of play with a splendid effort from James Arnold. Retrieving the ball from a difficult position inside his own half, the 20-year-old wing started a diagonal run and when he cleverly kicked into vacant space there was only going to be one outcome of the subsequent foot race.

Warman converted for an interval score of 7-0 after Coleman had cleared the danger following Burnham thrusts by Nick McKen and Elisi Vunipola.

Weston started the second half with attacks by James Gallagher, on his 50th appearance, and a back to form Paul Sprague, then came Coleman's try.

But Burnham still persisted and Hobbs was their try scorer with 13 minutes of normal time remaining.

The hosts' scrum was still in reverse and the penalty count against them was still mounting to the final tally of 4-14. But the arrival of Lavender stopped the rot and when they found themselves at Burnham's front door in time added, a driving maul gave David Burge the final word.

Weston: M Smith; J Arnold, S Trimmell, J Filer (K Middlemiss 56), P Sprague; H Warman, N Coleman; J Gallagher (E Hunt 50), D Burge (capt), A Richards (N Lavender 66), A Glen, S Board, E Smith (G Wright 50), G Simpson, D Fry.

WESTON resume league duties on Saturday with a difficult trip to face Coney Hill.

They will still be without skipper Ashley Russell who, depending on progress on his fractured vertebra, is hoping to be available in the New Year. Simon Williams, the latest casualty, may take longer to recover from his knee ligament injury.

However, coach David Healy will welcome the return of Trevena, George Sparks, James Mackay and Mark Armstrong for this, and the remaining matches before the Christmas break against Exmouth, Old Patesians and Oxford Harlequins.

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