Buoyed by last week’s encouraging performance Wellington were keen to put in a similar performance in front of the home crowd, writes Allyn Chetland. In the main Wellington kept faith with team selected from the previous week the exceptions being Jamie Hayman came into the side on the wing instead of Tyler Hart who dropped to the bench and Matt Parsons whowas promoted from the bench to outside half following the late withdrawal of centre Will Hancock due to illness with Patrick Jarman moving to the centre.
The heavy and wet conditions did not suit Wellington game plan but never the less they started the match with a bang when Jack Woodland gathered the ball from the kick off which was re-cycled quickly. The ball found its way to Parsons who produced a deft cross field kick which was regathered by fullback Tom Hawkings. Hawkings in turn transferred the ball to winger Joe Coppin who scampered over for the opening try of the game, the conversion from wide out was missed.
St.Austell responded with a well worked unconverted try of their own to even the scores. Wellington had to soak up periods of pressure after conceding this try but despite all that St.Austell could throw at them the defence stood firm. Not to be outdone Wellington responded with extended visits & periods of pressure on the visitors’ line. From one such visit Woodland powered over near the posts and Hawkings made no mistake with the extra points to extend Wellington lead to 12-5.
On the stroke of halftime another fine attack once again saw the ball find its way to Coppin who showed great strength to ground the ball for his second and his teams 3rd try of the match. The touchline conversion by Hawkings was successful making the half-time score 19-5 to Chiefs. Unfortunately the half was marred somewhat by a nasty injury to young second row Will Hinchcliffe which required a trip to hospital, an operation and eight weeks on the side lines.
The conditions underfoot were not getting any easier and the greasy wet ball made handling difficult but it was the visitors who came to terms with the conditions better at the start of the second period and soon crossed for a converted try to reduce the arrears to 19-12. The half ebbed & flowed with both teams having opportunities to score, Wellington lead was further reduced to four points via a St.Austell penalty but this was cancelled out after pressure by Wellington resulted in a penalty in front of the posts which Hawkings coolly slotted to extend Wellington lead to 7 points.
A fine move by the Wellington backline nearly produced a try for Jamie Hayman but the move was thwarted by some excellent defence by the visitors. A further penalty from St.Austell reduced the arrears once more meaning the last 10 minutes of game was a nerve jangling affair but Wellington defence stood firm to take the spoils 22-18 and their first win in the league since 12th November.
St.Austell had no complaints admitting the better side won. The whole squad can again be proud of their performance, Josh Hancock, who came on early in the first half for the unlucky Hinchcliffe, showed up well whilst it was a 50/50 choice between Woodland & George Hodgson as to who was named man of the match with Hodgson just taking decision. The hard work & commitment the squad is putting in is there for all to see but there still is a lot of hard work to do to continue improving – the lads keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground and taking one game at time.
Next week sees Wellington entertain near neighbours Tiverton at The Athletic Ground – KO 2.30pm – in which is sure to be another difficult league encounter.