Weston hold out for spirited victory
- Credit: Archant
Weston held out for a nervy final 10 minutes against Newton Abbot after being reduced to 13 men.
WESTON 19 pts
NEWTON ABBOT 13 pts
WESTON held their collective nerve during the tense 10 minutes of stoppage time at the Recreation Ground last Saturday.
The scoreline at the end of normal time was 19-13 and during those final minutes, Newton Abbot were intent on the converted try which they needed to bring off a late victory.
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However, despite having two players in the sin bin and conceding a string of penalties, the Seasiders held on to their six-point advantage.
Earlier, the hosts were ahead after only 23 seconds! The visitors were unable to hang on to Weston’s kick-off and a backs move down the right involving inroads by Kirk Middlemiss and Robbie Mackay eventually resulted in a try for Paul Morrissey.
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James Mackay converted but Weston then gave their guests three opportunities to score, and scrum-half Matt Newman duly obliged at the third instance.
Mackay then struck a post with an intended penalty but made amends two minutes later with a 40-metre effort, but was immediately cancelled out in kind by visiting fly-half Laurence May.
Weston then went on to the attack again with nine phases of possession and they were rewarded with a brace of penalties by Mackay in the space of four minutes.
Mackay’s fourth penalty from wide out followed before visiting wing Nic Holt lost the ball over the Weston line.
The hosts were now leading by 19-8 at the break, but Newton Abbot reduced their arrears two minutes into the second half with a try by flanker Ben Cole following a driven line-out.
It was now Weston’s turn to attack with three attempted pushover tries, but they came away with nothing.
As the match progressed, play swung from end to end after a stunning counter attack involving Matt Watkins and replacement Ross Bennett, Sylvan Edwards was thwarted at the left corner.
Then came those final 10 minutes and things were not looking good for the Seasiders. James Mackay had retired with a hamstring injury, Morrissey was already in the sin bin and Sparks joined him with two minutes remaining.
But brave defending all across the team gave them their second successive victory after losing the previous seven.
In amongst this fine team effort there were some outstanding individual performances, namely by hooker Craig Withers and No 8 George Sparks.
Withers was ever prominent with his strong charges and his feeding of the line-out, while Sparks continued his excellent form.
Eighteen-year-old flanker Ben Cox put in another good effort as did Sam Smee, who has successfully switched from centre to scrum-half. Then there was James Mackay’s 14-point contribution.
Weston: J Skelton, R Mackay, K Middlemiss, S Edwards, M Watkins, J Mackay, S Smee, D Swann (c), C Withers, D Price, S Hudson, D Bufton, B Cox, P Morrissey, G Sparks. Replacements used: S Donegan, T Main, R Bennett.
Weston have now completed the re-arrangement of home matches which were postponed because of the weather.
They will play Bracknell on March 15 and Old Patesians on April 19 (Easter Sunday). Both these matches kick off at 3pm.