Seasiders fall just short in opening fixture

PUBLISHED: 09:44 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:44 07 September 2018

Weston v Barnstaple rugby,  13-11 to Weston just before half time
01,09,18

Weston v Barnstaple rugby, 13-11 to Weston just before half time 01,09,18

(C)2016 Jeremy Long / JCLPhotography, all rights reserved

Weston picked up a losing bonus point in their opening match of the new season at home to Barnstaple.

Weston 18 pts

Barnstaple 23 pts

Weston opened their season against their North Devon visitors Barnstaple with great energy and speed and with confidence high.

Spelman gained possession from Chapman’s kick-off, the ball moved to the left wing and Spelman put through a neat grubber kick and new signing Alex Howman sprinted through and touched down for a try less than a minute into the game. Chapman’s conversion attempt was good and things looked rosy for Weston.

Play ebbed and flowed, but Barnstaple put some big ball carriers into motion and one broke through and put the openside away for a well-taken try.

The extras were missed but Barnstaple were able to take the lead after another 10 minutes of even play through a penalty which the referee awarded for a breakdown infringement. After 21 minutes Barnstaple had a one-point lead 7-8.

Weston upped the pace and worked their way into the Barum 22. From a set move, hooker Mike Hocking appeared to be shoulder charged by his opposite number who made his tackle without moving his arms.

Weston were awarded a penalty, slotted by Chapman. Six minutes later and Weston were close to driving over from loose forward play, but had to settle for a penalty near the posts.

Chapman obliged again and with six minutes of the half left, Weston were in front by 13-8. Barum had the better of the last few minutes and scored a penalty of their own just shy of half-time.

Almost from the kick off a defensive lapse saw Barum take advantage and the scored a converted try to retake the lead.

Weston were frustrated by some decisions which left the spectators scratching their heads. Andy Glen was yellow carded for entering the side of the maul but, to Weston at least, it looked as though he had come through the middle.

Barnstaple took full advantage of him being off the field and a catch and drive from the penalty line-out saw them cross for their third try and extended their lead to 10 points as the conversion was missed.

While still down to 14 men, Weston attacked relentlessly and on third phase possession, new centre Cameron Maslen picked a great line and he broke clean through Barnstaple’s defence.

His pass to Nel was exquisitely timed and he scored under the posts. Chapman got the extras and an intense few remaining minutes saw Weston’s attempt to get another score thwarted and they had to settle for being five points adrift, and a losing bonus point.

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