New faces play major part in victory
WESTON 20 pts MAIDENHEAD 14 pts - TWO of Weston's new faces Lee Voisey and Steve Lang played major parts in their victory over Maidenhead in the season's opener in National 3 (South West) at the Recreation Ground.
WESTON 20 pts
MAIDENHEAD 14 pts
TWO of Weston's new faces Lee Voisey and Steve Lang played major parts in their victory over Maidenhead in the season's opener in National 3 (South West) at the Recreation Ground.
Voisey scored a try in each half and Lang's second-half goal kicking became important as was his break to set up the crucial try which settled the issue.
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Other Weston players who caught the eye were James Gallagher, Mike Kempton, George Wright and George Sparks who has returned to the club following a season in Portugal. There was also a successful debut for 19-year-old Daniel Eliott, a former junior, who came off the bench.
Weston, led by new skipper Ashley Russell, started in positive fashion, but Maidenhead's heavier pack was soon evident. Territory was established but in the space of six minutes their kicker Alex Cannon had failed with three penalties, in the middle of which, the hosts took the lead.
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Voisey, receiving from a scrum, ran 50 metres to score a spectacular try, and on the half hour, Sparks managed to escape from a retreating scrum to give Kirk Middlemiss the easiest of run-ins.
Both tries were unconverted, but Lang made amends in the third minute of the second half with a 40-metre penalty.
The advantage was now 13 points, but Weston, now down to 14 men following James Reid's earlier yellow card, had some defensive duties to carry out and Wright's tackle on Jon Groenen was of major importance as the visitors attacked. But they were not to be denied as James Emanuel was awarded a try from a driven line-out. Cannon converted, but Weston responded six minutes later with a vital score.
Lang's strong break from inside his own half was supported by Reid who found Voisey with a long pass, who still had a lot to do from 30 metres, but his speed and strength took him to the line for Lang to convert.
With more than 20 minutes remaining, Maidenhead, who had beaten Weston only once in 12 league meetings, attacked with vigour, but after three raids had been repelled, pressure was relieved by Chris Young's long break.
But the visitors persisted and when the Seasiders' passing broke down, Ryan Long hacked through to score at the posts, Ed Keohane converting.
The match was now very much in the balance, but Maidenhead's hopes of a second victory were extinguished when referee Bob McCrudden inexplicably sounded the final whistle with eight minutes remaining, including three minutes of stoppage time.
Weston: L Voisey; K Middlemiss, J Reid, S Lang, P Sprague; C Young, J Mortimore (N Trevena 70); D Price, J Gallagher (D Eliot 70), M Down, M Kempton, A Russell (capt), E Smith (D Fry 61), G Wright, G Sparks. Yellow card: J Reid (41).
Weston 2nds 27 pts
Clifton Wanderers 24 pts
FOLLOWING the cancellation of last week's trial match by opposition unable to raise a side, United could have been excused for starting slowly against a Clifton side containing a number of players who featured in their first team last season that won South West 1.
However straight from the kick-off United rucked well, the ball was moved wide and Matt Burns scored, Harry Warman converting.
A further penalty by Warman, was followed by a converted try for Clifton.
Before the end of the first half, United increased their lead when a beautiful cutout pass from Reuben Burns to Chris Hurd was quickly followed by a try for Josh Littlewood, Warman again converting, for 22-14 at half-time.
The second half saw significant pressure by the visitors eventually seeing them take the lead 24-22. One last effort from United was required and the pack delivered when a driving maul saw Stuart Board crash over for the winning score.
This was a highly encouraging performance, and should act as a confidence booster ahead of the first league match next Saturday. Credit must go to the Weston pack who dominated throughout, particularly at scrum time, where Darren Doughty and Simon Williams caused chaos amongst the opposition ranks.