Seasiders halt their losing streak

Weston halted their losing run with a hard-fought victory at Newton Abbot.


WESTON 13 pts

WESTON’S season is back on track with this hard-fought effort at Rackerhayes.

The match was won 24 minutes into the second half with a stunning try by Matthew Watkins.

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From a scrum near halfway, skipper George Sparks made 30 metres down the right and quickly recycled possession created a break by James Mackay, and with little room, Watkins’ pace took him to the left corner. It was the wing’s 10th try of the season and it was complemented by Mackay’s successful conversion from the touchline.

Earlier, in the second minute, Mackay’s 40 metre penalty had given the Seasiders the lead, but it was soon overtaken by Newton’s skipper Ben Cole’s try from short range after Weston lock Harry Somers had been yellow carded.

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However, Mackay stepped up again with another 40 metre penalty and the visitors held a single point advantage at the interval.

The hosts had failed with a brace of penalty attempts during the first half and they missed another easy chance from barely 25 metres as Weston defended stoutly.

Then came Watkins’ try with Mackay’s conversion leaving the All Whites requiring two scores to win. But this was never going to happen.

The Seasiders’ defensive arrangement was as solid as Steep Holm and although the hosts had enough possession, they found their visitors’ front door firmly shut.

Newton Abbot were awarded a penalty in stoppage time and decided to go for a losing bonus point, but Josh Smith’s attempt from 27 metres was well wide to complete a miserable afternoon for their kickers.

Weston: C Hurd, P Sprague, G Kimmins, J Mackay, M Watkins, M Roberts, R Bennett (sinbin 82), M Truscott (M Matthews 69), D Burge, S Donegan, H Somers (sinbin 14), A Russell, J Rudkin (G Simpson 75), R Bignell, G Sparks (c).

After losing their previous four league matches, Newton Abbot were favourites at home, but Weston completely upset those odds.

In a close encounter such as this, it is normally the team with the better back row which comes out on top, and this was no exception.

Jamie Rudkin, Richard Bignell, Sparks, and later, Gavin Simpson, controlled matters at the breakdown and elsewhere, and with Mackay kicking three goals from as many attempts, this was Weston’s comeback match.

Holders Weston have been drawn away at Clevedon in the quarter-finals of the Somerset Cup.

The match will be played over the weekend of February 11/12. The remainder of the draw is: University of Bath v Bristol Harlequins; Bridgwater v Old Redcliffians; Burnham-on-Sea v North Petherton.

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