An away trip was always going to be tough against a team pushing for league honours and this proved to the case. To their credit Wellington were highly competitive for 70mins of the match, writes Allyn Chetland, playing with passion and commitment hroughout apart from a crazy 10 minute period, either side of halftime, when the hosts scored 19 unanswered points.
Devonport started well and went over for an early converted try. Despite this setback Wellington gradually started to find their feet and play some rugby themselves. Their efforts were rewarded when fullback Tom Hawkings kicked a penalty after the hosts were caught offside in front of their posts following an excellent attacking move by Wellington three-quarters orchestrated by outside half Liam Symons.
With 5mins of the half remaining Wellington were trailing 7-3 but looking comfortable with how the game was progressing but then came the start of 10 minute period that cost Wellington dear and ultimately the game. Devonport ran in two converted tries in the remaining minutes, one assisted it has to be said by a debatable decision by the official.
With sprits still at a low for Chiefs, Devonport again started well and soon went over for another unconverted try to further extend their lead. Pride and passion came to the fore for Wellington and once again they started to play with ambition. This ambition was rewarded by scoring the two best tries of the match. The first was by flanker Jack Woodland after outstanding work by hooker Joe Dyke, Hawkings made no mistake with extra points. Woodland was again the beneficiary for his and his team’s second try of the match after a sublime break by Symons from well within his own half, Hawkings again claimed the extra points. Wellington continued to press but thoughts of a comeback were thwarted when Devonport scored their last converted try towards the end of the match. Once again Wellington came back and threw everything they had into prolonged attacks but unfortunately despite these efforts they could not cross the hosts’ line again and the game finished 33-15.
Devonport are the best all round side Wellington have faced this season and on this showing should go onto finish top of the pile. The hosts where well aware of the Wellington improved form of late and had done their homework most noticeably at the lineout where they disrupted Wellington ball all afternoon.
Ben Hayman, in his first start for the 1st XV this season, was outstanding and thoroughly deserved to be named Wellington’s man of the match. The ever young Tim Jenkinson did himself and the team proud coming in as a late replacement for the injured Ben Price at scrum half.
A disappointing result but again the signs are there that when Wellington keep their focus and concentration they can play some excellent rugby. Next week sees Truro visit The Athletic Ground, KO 14.30. The visitors are another team riding high in the league so once again this will be a stern test for Wellington – please come along and support the team, the lads would greatly appreciate it.