A dramatic finale to this game resulted in the Chiefs snatching the win with 10 minutes to go in an absorbing contest against another strong team in this division who were just unable to resist the home side’s young guns who never stopped trying and deservedly got their reward.
The start of the match was evenly balanced with only a Whites penalty from full back Dean Weaver after 5 minutes being the difference. Wellington responded tenaciously with a period of pressure which saw the visiting pack having to work extremely hard to defend the Wellington rolling mauls set up from line-outs which came as a result of the penalties, which they elected to kick to touch. The Bristol side showed they were well organised defensively however and despite several minutes home pressure the ball was eventually lost.
With so many players committed to attack there were gaps out behind and the ball was transferred quickly forward through a number of sets of hand with wing Jake Hollis eventually going past the final defender to score under the posts which Weaver converted.
Undaunted by this setback The Chiefs rallied once more and drove into their opponents 22 and again got onto the front foot at a set scrum with flanker Danny Lee spotting the referee signalling the ball was out of the back of a Whitehall take. He promptly darted forward and picked to go over in the left hand corner. Full back Tom Hawkings stepped up and duly slotted the conversion which was probably the most difficult kick he had attempted after missing a couple of longer range shots from a more central position to get the home team back into contention just 3 points down at the interval.
The Whites started the second half determined to keep the ball up front in the deteriorating conditions and started to out scrummage the home side and were quickly rewarded with another penalty which the steady Weaver converted despite the increasingly slippery surface.
The visitors continued to press forward and it took some immense rearguard action to keep them at bay with every single player putting their bodies on the line with some really heavy hits going in from both sides.
The stranglehold was finally broken and the Red and Blacks made headway out behind with stalwart Tim Jenkinson coming on at scrum half with Paddy Dean moving into the fly half berth for the injured Matt Parsons the back line became free to run at their tiring visitors.
It is no lie to say that youth has the advantage of fitness and Wellington started to stretch the tiring visitors at the breakdown once more.
With about 12 minutes to the end of normal time the Whitehall fly half, Reuben Feaver, who had been involved in a considerable amount of the action both in attack and defence was caught at a ruck illegally handling on the floor and was yellow carded. This was followed shortly afterwards by another sin binning for the visitors as they struggled to keep the Wellington pack at bay.
Finally when another rolling maul was again deliberately brought down the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try, Hawkings calmly stroked the ball through the sticks and Wellington were in the lead for the first time in the game.
Despite a generous period of injury time Chiefs’ lead was protected through to the final whistle for a fine Wellington win which keeps them ninth in the table well above the bottom three.
Team: Lee Wadham, Joe Dyke, Anthony Gill, Chris Kitto, Cameron Venn, Danny Lee, Jack Woodland, Micky Norman, Ben Price, Matt Parsons, Andrew Bellamy, Patrick Jarman, George Hodgson, Alex Johnson, Tom Hawkings. Reps: Luke Brereton, Tim Jenkinson, Liam Phillips
Match report: Nick Robins