In their first home game since 12 December 2015 and after a run of four consecutive matches where a losing bonus point had been won Wellington were unable to compete with their visitors in this disappointing match, reports Nick Robins.
The home sides enforced youth policy interlaced with a few players with vast experience was not enough to overcome their opponents whose unflinching style of rugby wasn’t the most stylish but nevertheless was most effective.
With a minutes silence being observed before the game in memory of the highly respected previous First XV Captain and Vice President Mr John Price the match got off to a hopeful start as full back Tom Hawkings got the scoreboard ticking with an early penalty.
This was quickly countered however as the Quins pack made the most of penalties awarded on the Wellington five metre line and eventually after the third attempt at a pushover dangerous ex-Somerset scrum half Ross Hickery picked up and went over also slotting the conversion.
Hawkings was extremely unfortunate to drag another couple of penalty attempts both of which hit the left hand upright pretty much in the same spot each time. However quick thinking by fly and coach Matt Parsons following more home pressure saw his chipped cross kick reach the wing George Hodgson on the left and he easily beat the stretched cover to score by the posts. Parsons this time took the kick which was successful to restore the lead, albeit briefly.
More forward pressure from the Bristolian’s had the same result with number eight Lee Jones this time dropping on the ball as a scrum was pushed over the home line. Hickery obliged once more to take back the lead which not surrendered again.
A penalty followed from the Harlequins scrum half before their third try from second row David Sweet who rounded off a rolling maul which the young wellington could find no way of stopping this time the kick went wide however but a twelve point lead at half time looked ominous for the home side.
Despite struggling to use their pace out behind where they were unable to transfer possession quickly enough to outmanoeuvre their opponents, particularly in the first half, Hawkings, who had joined a rare attack, was sent in under the posts and added the conversion to give the Chiefs hope of a recovery.
The visitors were in no mood however to relent and held their ground, sometimes in abrasive fashion, and regained the initiative with an unconverted try from fly half David Priddy followed by two more penalties from the scrumhalf Hickery.
This was a match where little seemed to go right for the home side compounded by some unfortunate decisions and a couple of yellcards although the visitors were also reduced for a period in the second half following an altercation.
Next up is a visit to second placed Keynsham next week followed by a week’s break then at home to top of the table Matson’s visit to the Athletic Ground on 13 February hardly the easiest of schedules from which to somehow fashion much-needed points.
North Petherton 2nds 7 Wellington 2nds 29
Selection was hard again this week due to the number of injuries in the club at the moment but thanks a number of Wellington veteran players stepping up to fill in, wellington were able to field a good starting line up. Thanks go out to lee Atkinson, mark alder and paul Hayman for stepping in and doing a brilliant job! Wellington started playing up the hill, and pushed hard from the start. Although probably did underestimate the opposition due to their league position. But Wellington throughout the game were completely dominant in all aspects, especially up front with a few guys playing out of their preferred positions, but absolutely over powering the opposition. The scrummaging being a master class for poor pethy, who to their credit, even though they spent most Scrums galloping back at a vast rate of knots, only gave away a couple of penalties there.
Praise must go to Luke Brereton, who mainly plays his game at loose head, took over at 8 for the first time, and controlled the ball at the back of the rapidly moving scrum with absolute control. Ryan forgeron opened the scoring for welly after five mins after some swift hands sent him in at the top corner. No conversion. Wellington then sat back a little too much and gifted pethy easy possession, which they gladly took. Forcing welly deep into their half. With quick handling and some lax tackling enabled the pethy 15 Ethan longhurst to open their scoring, converted by pethy player spud. 7-5. Luckily this spurred welly back into the game, and if it hadn’t been for pethys solid defence, more points could if been scored. But they held strong until 30 mins when Alex davey scored in the top corner again for welly. No conv.
With 2 minutes of the half left welly were pinned deep in their own half after a break from pethy. Welly defended well and knowing there wasn’t long left won the ball back and ran the ball out of their own 22 and ended with forgeron getting his second, which jordan webber converted. Halftime 7-17. The second half started quiet for welly with pethy pinning us deep in our own half, but the defence held strong, and the set piece play kept us out of trouble. It was blighted by injuries for both sides, luckily nothing serious. But there was no score until about 15 from the end, when Leigh cash took a quick tap penalty and Andrew Bellamy latched on chipping the ball through, but he was pulled back by a pethy player forcing the ref to award a penalty try beneath the posts, which webber converted. With 5 minutes left Wellington scored the best try of they day.
From great line out work from the forwards, the ball was pushed forwards, into the 22, which was quickly popped up to Shane Jordan who crashed through the line and looked as though he was going to score for sure, but after 10meteres, ran our of gas, a metre short, but the ball was quickly recycled down the line with great hands from backs and forwards to forgeron for his hat trick! No conv 7-29. The game finished with another great scoring opportunity, welly won a penalty from a pethy scrum, and electing to punish the pethy pack even more, chose to scrum again. From this an extra ten metres was gained which was passed swiftly down the line to Paul Hayman who handed off two players only to be held up over the line. Another good day for Wellington 2’s and a credit to the club that with so many changes, we can still field a highly competitive side.