Playing up the slope and against the elements Wellington soon found themselves on the wrong side of an offensive onslaught by the home side and did not get a meaningful touch of the ball until the 20 minute mark, writes Allyn Chetland. Unfortunately, by this point they already found themselves 12 points adrift from the hosts via two pushover tries, one of which was converted.
The score line could have been far worse during this period if not for an outstanding defensive display. Once Wellington got hold of the ball they showed what they are capable of, looking very comfortable with ball in hand, stretching the home defence on numerous occasions. After one such attack Bude were penalised in front of their posts, full back Tom Hawkings made no mistake with the penalty to reduce the arrears’ to 12-3.
Playing down the slope in the second half The Red & Blacks started brightly putting the hosts under sustained pressure, their efforts were rewarded when they rewarded a penalty but, unfortunately this opportunity could not be taken.
A lapse in concentration saw Wellington reduced to 14 but outstanding defensive saw scrum half Liam Symons taking full advantage of a lapse by Bude, pouncing on a loose pass, to score from just inside home side’s half, Hawkings converted to make the score 12-10. Throughout the rest of the half Wellington continued to press and were desperate to get the score that would give them the victory but it wasn’t to be, a 50m penalty kick fell agonisingly just below the crossbar, the last score of the match came via a penalty by the home side in final seconds of the match making the final score 15-10.
Throughout the match, especially during the second half, the street wise & chunky Bude pack used their experience wisely, slowing the game down at every opportunity. The game was constantly interrupted by various acts of skulduggery and off the ball incidents, requiring the official to step in on numerous occasions. The stop/start nature disrupted the flow of The Red & Blacks game but it was exactly what the home side wanted and to their benefit.
Areas of concern will be the scrummage and unfortunately, as the game went on, the number of penalties conceded, the young Red & Black team falling into the traps set by their more experienced opponents especially up front.
Wingers Alex Davey & Joe Coppin looked dangerous with ball in hand, captain Dan Moore, playing out of position in the centre, led by example whilst replacement Josh Hancock gave a 110% for the team when he took to the field. A small consolation for The Red & Blacks is that they do take a losing bonus point from this encounter.