Wellington made the short journey up the M5 looking to put behind them the disappointments of the previous two Saturdays. Ben Gamlin & Joe Dyke dropped out of the starting XV through injury with Andrew Bellamy replacing Dyke as hooker, Trae Gosling moving from the backrow to replace Gamlin at centre & Jamie Hayman getting a start on the wing. Matt Parsons retained the scrum half position.
The Red & Blacks had the advantage of playing with the strong wind in first period. Throughout the game the wind was a major factor in the quality of the skills on display resulting in an error strewn game devoid of continuity, however credit to both teams who did their utmost to entertain the crowd in such trying conditions.
The first 20mins of the game saw each side testing each other out looking for any possible signs of weakness. The deadlock was broken by The Red & Blacks on the 22min mark after a superb attacking move from a scrum, involving hard working captain Dan Moore, saw the ball transferred to outside half Patrick Jarman who delivered a deft and well timed pass to winger Hayman who scorched over the line leaving would be defenders in his wake to score underneath the posts.
Parsons converted to give the The Red & Blacks a 0 -7 lead. Almost immediately after this success Wellington again went on the attack and were awarded a penalty in front of Burnham’s post on the 22m line, unfortunately the penalty kick could not be taken. Another excellent Wellington attack was thwarted when a speculative over the shoulder pass was intercepted by Burnham on their 22m line, the home then went through numerous phases to score a well worked try wide out. The conversion was missed making the half time score 5 – 7 to The Red & Blacks.
The second half was a bit of a non-descript event with both teams once again struggling to come to terms with the conditions. The half was predominantly played on or around the half way line for the majority of the half and turned into a bit of an arm wrestle between the teams. The Red & Blacks had the better scoring chances with overlaps unfortunately spurned and a try being disallowed for a forward pass after great work by Jack Richards.
The Red & Blacks kept up the pressure after this disappointment and their efforts were soon rewarded when Gosling thundered over underneath the posts after superb inter passing between the forwards and the backs. Parsons majorised giving Wellington a 5 -14 lead. Burnham also had their chances, once such attack was thwarted by Parsons who did an excellent impression of Inspector Gadget in extending his arms to intercept a pass to save a certain 5 pointer for the home side.
In the dying minutes Burnham mustered one more attack which proved fruitful when their right winger scored wide out, the conversion was missed. The referee indicated to both sides that there was time for the re-start with Wellington leading 10 – 14. From the re-start Burnham went onto the attack looking for a try that would give them victory, however The ‘Red Wall’ stood firm, repelling the desperate attacks from the home side with ease. This defensive work proved too much for Burnham who were penalised for holding on in the ruck which signalled the end of the game with The Red & Blacks running out the victors 10 -14.
A workman like performance from The Red & Blacks that produced the required result which will give them much confidence going forward into their next game. Second row Dave Turney had an excellent all-round game, once again using his bulk to great effect in tightening up the scrum. The Red & Blacks will be hopefully that all the injured players will be fit and ready for the forthcoming games.
On Saturday the 1st XV welcome Devonport Services to The Athletic Ground – KO 3pm, whilst the 2nd XV travel to Chew Valley hoping to put recent disappointments behind them
Report: Allyn Chetland