Seasiders give league leaders a fright

TAUNTON 24 pts WESTON 20 pts - WESTON gave a good account of themselves at Hyde Park before a strong finish by Taunton took the hosts to a narrow victory.

TAUNTON 24 pts

WESTON 20 pts

WESTON gave a good account of themselves at Hyde Park before a strong finish by Taunton took the hosts to a narrow victory.

Weston elected to play against the stiff breeze and they were soon in arrears. Sam Saunders' third minute penalty was quickly followed by his conversion of Charlie Walker-Blair's try.

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Saunders was on target again in reply to Glenn Dickson's penalty and the 13-3 deficit at the interval could have been worse had not former Weston prop Alex Chase fumbled a pass with the line beckoning a yard away.

The Seasiders, now with the wind and sun in the favour, started the second half well and after eight phases, Dickson kicked his second penalty.

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The New Zealander repeated the score a minute later and with Weston now up and running, more pressure was applied and George Sparks gave the scoring pass to Chris Young, a late replacement for the injured James Mackay.

The Seasiders were now in front, and the lead increased in the 53rd minute with Dickson's fourth penalty but Taunton were ahead again nine minutes later with skipper Nick Burnett's unconverted try.

But back came Weston and Andrew Richards' penetrating drive was rewarded with Dickson's drop goal to give his team a two point advantage.

However, during the final 10 minutes the champions recovered and two penalties by Saunders left the Seasiders with a losing bonus point.

This was another splendid performance by George Sparks and his men. They silenced the large crowd midway through the second half when they went ahead. They were unable to sustain their momentum but it was the closest that the hosts had come to defeat this season.

Once again, Andrew Richards was always in the picture and the front row of Price, Burge and Williams had a good match.

On Saturday, Weston entertain Coney Hill (3pm) and they will be looking to avenge the 23-13 defeat suffered in Gloucester in November.

Weston: H Warman, K Middlemiss, S Bennett, C Young, P Sprague (N Trevena 43-54), G Dickson, J Conway, D Price, D Burge, S Williams, E Smith, A Richards, D Fry (K Hobbs 43), G Wright, G Sparks (c). Rep not used: L Grimes.

ROSS Bennett has returned to the club after spending last season at Cleve.

Scrum-half Bennett (21), who has made 40 first team appearances for the Seasiders, will not be eligible to play in National 3 South West this term as he returned after the deadline date.

However, he has already played in two matches for Weston United in Somerset 1 and he will be re-registered in time for next season.

THE Somerset Cup final between Weston and Taunton will be played at Bridgwater on Sunday, March 28. The kick-off will be at 2.30pm.

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