Seasiders slip into relegation zone

WESTON 9 pts EXMOUTH 17 pts - WESTON lost out at the Recreation Ground in this battle to steer clear of the bottom three in National League South West.

WESTON 9 pts

EXMOUTH 17 pts

WESTON lost out at the Recreation Ground in this battle to steer clear of the bottom three in National League South West.

The Seasiders were dealt a severe blow in the 10th minute when Gavin Simpson was sent off for stamping. They managed to hold out until the 55th minute but, despite some heroic defending by the remainder of the back row, Dan Fry and George Sparks together with the outstanding Andrew Richards, there was no stopping the Devonians once they had scored their first try.

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Weston had started well with James Arnold narrowly failing to reach James Mackay's cross-field kick and Mackay gave them the lead with his first penalty.

Mackay was on target again in the 21st minute, following Mark Armstrong's interception and after Exmouth's kicker Shaun Fayter had failed with four penalty attempts, Mackay stepped up again to give the hosts a nine-point interval advantage.

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But they gradually faltered in the second half, failing to find the touchline with penalties and surrendering metres of ground, mainly by offending at the breakdown.

As pressure built, Jack Downie reduced the arrears with a corner try and following a yellow card against Andrew Glen and a high tackle by Fry, the visitors' 14-man drive resulted in a try by Ben Boswell.

Andrew Powell converted to take the score to 12-9 and with two minutes of normal time remaining, Jack Andrew touched down near the right corner to put the issue beyond doubt.

Weston: H Warman; K Middlemiss, S Trimell, M Armstrong, J Arnold; J Mackay, J Reid; D Price, D Burge (capt), S Donegan, A Richards, A Glen (sin bin 50), G Simpson (red card 10), D Fry, G Sparks. Replacements (not used): J Gallagher, G Wright, M Smith.

WESTON now have two difficult matches before the festive break. They entertain second placed Old Patesians on Saturday and on December 19, travel to Oxford Harlequins.

To have any hope of success they must tighten up their discipline. They conceded 13 penalties last week and contributed to their own downfall with elementary errors, without which they would have had a good chance of winning, despite their reduction in numbers.

The Seasiders have been drawn away to Yatton in the second round of the Somerset Cup. The match will be played on either January 2 or 3.

Weston Athletic 21 pts

Minehead Barbarians 2nds 14 pts

THIS away win was achieved in the face of a howling gale, Athletic coming back from a 14 points to nil half time score to win in dogged style, in a competitive closely fought encounter with Minehead Barbarians 2nds.

Due to illness and cry offs the Athletic arrived at Minehead with 14 players and no replacements. After a slight delay due to the designated pitch not having been marked another pitch close to Mineheads ground was found.

Hill, the Athletic captain, won the toss and chose to play uphill for the first half. This proved to be Minehead's undoing as the Athletic forwards managed to keep the score down to two tries and the extras.

With Robbie Hazzard making countless covering tackles, weather conditions got progressively worse and at one stage the Athletic were not only playing uphill but into the teeth of gale-force winds and lashing rain. With youth and guile in full harmony the Athletic contested every ball. Burns orchestrated the backs and by utilising Larkin's years of experience managed to reduce Minehead's chances to the minimum.

A quick turn round at half-time saw the Athletic pack drive the opposition forwards back down the hill allowing Larkin to pick up a lose ball and score close to the posts, Dan Prime picking up the two points with a great display of goal kicking.

With the pack having total control the backs where brought into play and the youth in the side came to the fore stretching the Minehead backline. Constant harrying kept the pressure on the opposition forwards containing the aggressive Minehead side in their own half for long periods of play.

Winning a line-out in the Barbarians 22 allowed the pack to drive over with Noszgay dabbing down, Prime taking the conversion with ease given the appalling conditions.

With only minutes left Dan Prime fly hacked down field and then outstripped all Minehead's defensive line to score the winning try and again picking up the extras.

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