Third consecutive win for the Seasiders

Barnstaple 17 pts Weston-s-Mare 22 pts - WESTON continued their fight to climb away from the relegation zone with this third consecutive and valuable league win over fellow strugglers from North Devon.

Barnstaple 17 pts

Weston-s-Mare 22 pts

WESTON continued their fight to climb away from the relegation zone with this third consecutive and valuable league win over fellow strugglers from North Devon, who had started the day above the Seasiders, but who had changed places by the end of the match.

This completed a hard-working seasonal double over Barnstaple, and in doing so dispelled the memory of the surprise losses incurred last season against the same opposition.

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Once again, the win was due to a dominant performance by the forwards who mercilessly bullied the Barum eight to the extent that their front row could hardly compete. Why their hooker remained unpunished for constantly standing up, or more pertinently, being squeezed up in the set piece remains a mystery.

The downside of the performance is that such was their domination, both physically and territorially, that the visitors should have been out of sight by half-time.

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The home side somehow held out for the first 15 minutes without getting out of their half. Glenn Dickson, having uncharacteristically missed a couple of kicks in the tricky breeze, finally got Weston on the board.

Barnstaple prop forward Nott was yellow carded after 29 minutes and from the resultant scrum, No 8 George Sparks, who enjoyed a splendid match, touched down a regulation pushover try.

Perversely the extras were missed. An 8-0 lead after half an hour did not reflect the game, and five minutes later, the home side, on a rare visit to Weston territory, conjured a simple overlap try for their full-back Galliford, following quick and accurate passing by the backs.

This was converted to close to 8-7, which became 11-7 when Dickson kicked his second penalty for the visitors just before half time.

The early stages of the second half brought more of the same.

Dickson kicked his third penalty after two minutes, the forwards having once again taken play to the opponents line, and 10 minutes later, following more forward pressure, second row forward Andy Richards flattened a couple of demoralised opponents as he drove through for a try, and a 12 point lead of 19-7.

Barnstaple fly-half Giddy, confusingly deemed to be "man of the match", slotted a penalty after 59 minutes, and two minutes later Dickson restored the advantage with his fourth penalty.

The last quarter saw a change in impetus. Weston lost concentration, and back row forward Smith to the sin bin. The hitherto quiet Barum faithful, and there are a lot of them, launched into their characteristic soccer chant more associated with the "New Den" than Pottington Road, and the home players responded accordingly, finally winning some ball, and running it at every opportunity.

The Weston defence was sorely tested and with eight minutes remaining, Mark Fatialofa drove over for a short range touch down after a series of rucks on the Weston line, which was converted to close to 17-22 and bonus point territory.

This concluded the scoring as the visitors fiercely repelled all further scoring attempts.

For Weston, the front row, as a whole, deserves the accolades. Sparks was outstanding, closely followed by George Wright, and there was a highly competent first team debut for scrum-half Jack Conway, who played as a junior at Weston, and has returned to the club.

Weston team: Harry Warman, James Arnold, Sean Bennett, James Mackay, Paul Sprague, Glenn Dickson, James Conway, David Price, David Burge, Simon Williams, Andrew Glen, Andrew Richards, Ed Smith, George Wright, George Sparks (Stuart Board), Steve Donegan, Chris Young.

Nailsea & Backwell 12 pts

Weston United 25pts

WESTON United kept up the good run shown by the whole club since Christmas with this hard earned victory over local rivals Nailsea and Backwell.

Weston took the lead when young colt Robbie Hazzard broke down the left to score in the corner. Nailsea hit back through their right wing who fleeced the covering defence to level.

Weston regained the lead after outstanding full-back Kirk Middlemiss scythed through the home defence before linking with hard working blindside flanker Eddy Saunders, who returned the favour allowing Middlemiss to release the rest of the backs, which enabled outside centre Jon Filer to score in the right corner.

The score stayed at 10-5 until half time, despite enormous pressure being put on the Weston scrum.

The second half saw the introduction of Luke Grimes to tight head and this immediately had an affect on stabilising the scrum.

Nailsea equalised following a chip through and converted to take the lead. A Filer penalty put Weston back in front and then followed two Middlemiss tries, one following great work by hooker Craig Withers. The second a vintage piece of Middlemiss magic. Richardson converted the last to give Weston a somewhat flattering victory.

Weston Athletic 35 pts

Crewkerne 0 pts

WITH the first and second teams both playing away, the Athletic benefited from the main pitch and brought a hugely contrasting team to the field with an international feel.

The Athletic fielded a forward pack of a combined age of 376 years with the average age of 47, which also saw a welcome return of ex-club captain Richard Fear, now a Canadian national.

Behind the experienced and weighty pack, the years fell away with debutantes Ollie Trott (18) and Darren Burns (17) playing at scrum-half and fly-half. The second half saw debuts for Fraser Luxon in the second row and Chris Kitson at flanker.

The Athletic were more than matched by an enthusiastic and aggressive Crewkerne side. However, pressure and early drives from the forwards created a good platform and an infringing Crewkerne were punished with a Dan Prime penalty.

The continued forward work allowed the young half backs space and the seasoned Charlie Larkin, again returning at full-back, ran in under the posts. The game proceeded in much the same way with plenty of forward pressure releasing backs to score the tries and look good.

Sturdy defence from the likes of Alex Larkin and Mike Leahy in the centres met the Crewkerne onslaught. The first half was peppered with injuries with Crewkerne losing their hooker and Weston Alex Larkin with an eye injury. Further tries from Prime and Trott gave the Athletic a convincing lead at half time.

Weston made changes just after half time bringing on some younger players. All the replacements were used and there were debuts for Bishop, Hancock and Blackborow.

Trott and Charlie Larkin each scored a second try and Burns converted his own try in this entraining and convincing victory that sees Athletic in the top half of Somerset 2.

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