Seasiders pay for poor start

Weston got off to another poor start, eventually losing 25-17 at Oxford Harlequins.


Weston 17 pts

WESTON have had some poor starts during the season, but this, at North Hincksey, was easily the worst.

By the 13th minute they were 19 points adrift and although the ship was steadied during the remainder of the match, they fell to a team which they had beaten by 65-10 at the Recreation Ground last October.

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The end of the match was equally as bad after Jon Gallagher had scored at the posts in stoppage time. The conversion attempt was handed to James Letherby whose hurried drop kick struck a post to deny the Seasiders what would have been a deserved losing bonus point.

The hosts had started strongly with a seventh minute try by Tongan international flanker Sione Viamounga and further scores quickly followed by scrum-half Jack Cossins and wing Pablo Pepiol, fly-half Matt Smith converting twice.

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The Seasiders were already staring down the barrel of a massive defeat but they pulled themselves together.

In first half time added skipper George Sparks crossed at the right corner after good work by Letherby and Paul Sprague.

But in the first minute of the second half they suffered a huge loss when full-back Ross Bennett was forced to retire with concussion and tooth damage after being felled by Viamounga, who received a yellow card for what was an obvious red card offence.

Quins extended their lead with Smith’s penalty after hooker Craig Withers was sent to the bin, then in the 62nd minute flanker Richard Bignell sustained a dislocated elbow to be replaced by Mark Matthews and Viamounga’s second yellow turned to red just before Weston’s second try.

From an attacking line-out the ever-alert Jamie Rudkin dived over for his 14th try of the season. The score was converted from wide out by George Kimmins who had replaced Bennett earlier.

The score was now 22-12, but Smith’s second penalty gave Quins a vital advantage.

However, Weston kept going and in the 11th minute of time added, Gallagher’s first try for the club should have given Weston that bonus point. But it was not to be.

Weston: R Bennett (G Kimmins 41), P Sprague, J Gallagher, J Letherby, J Arnold, M Roberts, S Disney, D Swann, C Withers (sinbin 55), S Donegan, S Board, A Russell, J Rudkin, R Bignell (M Matthews 62, G Wright 81), G Sparks (c).

Weston’s home league match against Old Patesians, postponed from February 4, will now be played on March 17. The kick-off at the Recreation Ground will be at 3pm.

The Renault Somerset Cup final will be played at Weston’s Recreation Ground on Wednesday, April 4. The kick-off will be at 7.30pm.

The semi-finals have yet to be played, but the teams concerned are North Petherton and Bridgwater, and the University of Bath and Clevedon.

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