Sparks’ double finishes off Brixham

Two tries by George Sparks went a long way to defeating Brixham at the Recreation Ground.

WESTON 20 pts

BRIXHAM 15 pts

A BRACE of second half tries by Weston’s outstanding No 8 George Sparks went a long way towards beating the challenge of a good Brixham side at the Recreation Ground last Saturday.

In the 50th minute, the Seasiders applied maximum pressure at a set scrum and when the visitors were eventually penalised, skipper Gavin Simpson opted for another scrum and after a couple of phases, Sparks got the touchdown via scrum-half Dan Waldon.

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James Mackay’s conversion took Weston’s advantage to 15-0 and a quarter of an hour later the pack drove hard for 25 metres and Sparks was again on hand to finish it off.

In the meantime, the Fishermen’s fly-half Ben Lovell had kicked a penalty for a scoreline of 20-3, but uncontested scrums from the 54th minute took the edge off Weston’s dominance, and tries by wing Harry Davis and centre Kyle Brown, converted by Lovell gave the visitors a chance of victory. But Weston hung on until the 10th minute of time added.

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Earlier, the hosts were on the scoreboard in the second minute. Harry Somers’ line-out catch and the subsequent drive gave hooker Craig Withers the opening score.

But Withers’ exit with a knee injury in the 25th minute had a serious effect on Weston’s line-out for the remainder of the match and when visiting centres Brown and Tom McLean threatened, it took two pieces of expert defending by wing Matthew Watkins to prevent a Brixham reply.

However, Mackay’s 35-metre penalty in the 40th minute sent the hosts to the interval with an eight point lead.

Sparks’ first try and Mackay’s important conversion quickly followed, then came Brixham’s injury problems and the uncontested scrums.

This meant that they had to play with 14 players, but Weston’s scrum power was nullified together with their now faulty line-out, but Sparks’ second try took them to 20-3.

But the Seasiders now had to defend stoutly and flanker Michael Morris’ tackle on fly-half Lovell was crucial as the visitors were now able to use their backs to good effect.

Davis’ try and a similar score by Brown brought Brixham back into serious contention, but Weston continued to defend strongly as the visitors eventually ran out of time.

Weston: R Bennett, M Watkins (M Oupoh h/t), H Jones, S Edwards, J Arnold, J Mackay, D Waldon, D Swann, C Withers (S Donegan 25) (S Eaton 60), P Hobbs, H Somers, G Wright, G Simpson (c), M Morris, G Sparks.

This was the hardest match for Weston so far this term, but they deservedly came through with their sixth win to retain second place in National 3 South West behind London Irish.

It was unfortunate for them that injuries in the visitors’ front row led to uncontested scrums, but the Seasiders can take the plaudits.

Their collective defence, with Sparks, Morris and prop David Swann making crucial tackles together with safety at the back with the ever-improving Ross Bennett putting in a telling performance at No 15.

They travel to Cheltenham on Saturday to take on Old Patesians where they have won only once previously. But if Simpson’s pack can do the business, they may well return with more league points in the bag.

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