Seasiders hold out for another narrow victory

WITH 10 minutes of normal time remaining, with the scores level at 27-all, and with Andrew Richards in the sin bin, Cheltenham were camped on the Weston line and had every prospect of their first league victory of the season.

But for eight of those 10 minutes the Seasiders heroically defended four scrums and when they eventually secured possession they arrived at the other end to snatch a dramatic victory.

Weston were first out of the blocks and by the seventh minute they were 10 points ahead.

Jack Conway’s clever kick gave George Wright the chance to touch down and a strong drive by Andrew Glen saw Kirk Middlemiss driven over. Neither score was converted but Michael Wilcox and Matthew Fotheringham then exchanged penalties.

But some careless play by the hosts in their own 22 gifted a try to Steve Moore and Wilcox’s conversion brought Cheltenham back into the match at 13-10.

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The visitors’ backs now started to cause problems and home full-back Joe Waterman’s crucial tackle on scrum-half Jason Graham was a try saver. But Cheltenham were not to be denied and they took the lead with wing Nick Ruddell’s try in the 32nd minute.

Ashley Russell’s try six minutes later, converted by Fotheringham, sent Weston ahead again but it was the visitors who were in the lead at the break when Wilcox converted lock James Comber’s try.

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Cheltenham pressed hard on the resumption and scrum-half Conway’s clearance was important but in a swift counter attack, David Burge put Wright clear at halfway, and 40 metres later the flanker’s inside pass was perfection as Paul Sprague sprinted to the line.

Fotheringham converted for 27-22 but in the 62nd minute, possession was surrendered in midfield and the visitors drew level with flanker Tom Lait’s try.

The conversion failed but both teams went for the win with some thrilling end-to-end rugby.

With Weston now a man short and trapped on their own line Cheltenham were odds on winners.

But somehow, the Seasiders escaped and when they fought their way to the Gloucestershire club’s front door it was skipper George Sparks’ grubber kick which created the five metre scrum from which Weston were offered a penalty.

Fotheringham duly obliged with his fourth successful kick of the match to send his team up to fifth place in National 3 South West.

Weston: J Waterman, S Thompson, P O’Connor, K Middlemiss (C Young 75), P Sprague, M Fotheringham, J Conway, D Swann (D Price 59), D Burge, S Williams, A Richards (sin bin 70-80), A Russell (G Simpson 63), A Glen, G Wright, G Sparks (c).

? WESTON loose head prop David Price made his 65th first team appearance in last Saturday’s match against Cheltenham to qualify for his club blazer badge.

Weston born Price (21), was educated at Priory School from where he appeared in Somerset’s 16-19 groups.

He started his club career in the Seasiders’ Under-15 squad and proceeded through the age groups to the colts, eventually becoming one of the youngest props to make a senior debut when he appeared at St Ives as an 18-year-old in November 2007.

Price was presented with his badge by the club’s president John Brentnall after Saturday’s match.

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