Wellington were away to Cullompton last Saturday, the home side are riding high in the league currently sitting in second place. Wellington made one change to the team that defeated Wiveliscombe on Boxing Day, writes Allyn Chetland, with Josh Hancock replacing the poorly Ryan Marke at prop.
For the first 25 mins of the game Wellington were guilty of giving the home side a little too much respect and this coupled with an unusual passive defence allowed the home side to generate a lot of momentum going forward. The end result was Cullompton taking an early 14 point lead after poor communication in defence gifted the Cullompton backline a try and then a push over try from the forwards.
The last 15mins of the half Wellington upped their game and a penalty kick from fullback Tom Hawkings went agonisingly wide. Cullompton still had the more possession and territory but Wellington defensive game improved tremendously pushing back the home side on numerous occasions with aggression & vigour.
The second half was a different story for Wellington who now started to believe in themselves and play the better rugby. Hawkings reduced the arrears via a penalty after Cullompton infringed at ruck. Further opportunities were created but could not be taken. Cullompton increased their lead to 19-3 after another pushover try but this was the spur for Wellington to increase their efforts further going straight back on the offensive.
An attack move was thwarted by the home the side on their line with ball finding its way into touch. From just inside the 22m line, and after a well worked lineout move, saw Josh Hancock using his bulk to smash his way over the line, Hawkings made no mistake with the extra points making the score 10-19. Cullompton were now visibly rattled, Wellington sensed this and immediately went on the attack again.
Desperate defence saw Cullompton concede a number of penalties one of which was hammered though the posts by Hawkings to reduce the arrears again to 19-13 to take Wellington into losing bonus point territory. With minutes remaining Wellington regathered the re-start and immediately put together a fine attacking move, unfortunately this move was halted on Cullompton’s try line, the ball was kicked dead and Wellington were left with ‘what could have been’ thoughts.
Ultimately it was the unusual lethargic first 20mins that cost Wellington the game but despite the loss a losing bonus point takes Wellington off the bottom of the league. The second half performance can give the team a lot of confidence going forward into the next league game which is Burnham at home. It was also pleasing to see Joe Dyke return to fitness playing a good 55 mins after months on the side-line.
Next league game is Burnham at home on the 14th Jan which is sure to be a passionate affair, KO 2.30. The lads would appreciate the support.