Weston RFC Match Report
Well.... what a difference a week makes....
10 tours training for some, 10 sick notes for the rest of them! We arrived in Weston with 13 men and not even a free donkey ride could persuade the locals to join Clifton for the day. So after a quick kip, we trotted out for a warm up, which mostly consisted of making excuses and requesting uncontested scrums! The look on Scot and Billy's faces was one of sheer horror... What no pushing... That means we'll have to run!!
Weston helped us out with two players to get us up to the required 15.
Will Harms is wishing he'd had a shocker last week, as his reward was to be Captain for the day... what a joy! Things started well as we won the toss, before a game changing moment... kick off. We received, which mostly involved watching the ball bounce in front of us and into touch. As we took the lineout inside our 22, it was clear Ryan was showing off his credentials to be included in the beach volleyball team for Rio, as he rose high above the other jumpers before spiking the ball past Will Lang at 9. Pressure on & after some notable defending from Jacob & Jude, it told, with Weston crossing for a simple 7 points.
Clifton restarted, but we decided against tackling too much and were soon back in our own 22. Lucky to escape suffering another score as Weston spilt the ball over the line, scrum awarded to Clifton. With a kicking option either side, it must have been the distraction of the joyful noises emanating from the pier that caused us to run blind, into their scrum half & back row, get turned over & give them a second opportunity that they duly took.
Clifton's decision making was poor, putting ourselves under undue pressure. The tackling from all but a few was worse. We simply needed to put our men down, calmly exit our 22 and keep the ball for more than 3 phases. Funnily enough, when we did this, we made ground, stopped worrying about the recycled pedigree chum beneath our feet and got into their 22. Isaac & Alex broke well down the left flank, before Captain Harms drove from the breakdown to dive over the line... the smile on his face was memorable.... although not sure if the moustache was mud or something else?
2 tries to 1 & we should have had a game on.... that is if it was touch. Weston came back and the few that were up for the contest were no match for a Weston side who had cleverly worked out that if they ran at the right parts of our line a cavernous gap would open up. Clifton went a man down, losing Jacob to injury (Aimee's diagnosed it as a scratched ankle!) & also a further score.
3 tries to 1 at the break.... it was going to be a tough 30 minutes. We had spoken before the match about the result being irrelevant and it was all about hard work & the performance, both as individuals and as a team. Places in the A team are up for grabs & people had an opportunity to put a marker down. Will Harms gave an able half time talk... make the tackles, keep the ball & stick to the strategy - exit our 22, 3 & see in the middle third & complete our moves in the red zone...
Shortly after the half, we lost Will Lang to another injury (think it was another scratched ankle or leg or something) so Weston kindly allowed a short term loan from their bench. Scot Hilton started the second half with vigour, carrying well and surprising the opposition... numbers 1-3 are clearly meant to be larger in this part of the world! Unfortunately, our runners became isolated and we were soon left to defend. Tackles slipped off & we were under our posts again.
This really started a pattern that wasn't to break until the last minute of the game. Clifton kicked off, accurately finding one of Weston's best players. Clifton fell off the tackles and the boys were marching back to their own line. Repeating the exact same sequence a few times was tough for the boys, but given the option of keeping going, or giving up, they chose to keep going and did so with good sprit. Isaac put in a decent shift at half back & Harry stepped up the tackle count to match his midfield partner Jude. Alex found a gap and a late surge down the touchline, but with solid Weston defence and a lack of support, the opportunity evaporated. Both Harry & Jude found gaps through the middle, all of which were nullified, before the final play of the game seeing the ball intercepted and Weston racing in for their 8th try. By this point, the boys heads were obviously dipping a little and we heard the welcome sound of the final whistle! I think the final score was 48-5 (8 tries to 1), but the relevance of that is limited.... key is what the guys can learn and take away from the game.
The Man of the Match award goes to Jude Penny second in the tackle count only to Harry, who bribed Sam King at half time!