Wellington welcomed Torquay on Saturday. Whilst not a ‘must win’ game it was a match that needed success, writes Allyn Chetland to ensure The Red & Blacks stayed in touch with the other teams close to them in the league leading into the Xmas/New Year period.
Playing towards the clubhouse Wellington controlled the opening period scoring a very early try via winger Jamie Hayman after an outstanding attack. Full back Tom Hawkings calmly slotted the conversion from the touchline for a 7-0 lead. Further pressure by The Red & Blacks saw the team camped in the visitors 22.
Their efforts were soon rewarded when hooker Liam Phillips extended the lead to 12-0 scoring a try in front of the home faithful after a well-controlled driving lineout, the conversion attempt from the touchline was missed. Further opportunities to increase the lead further were unfortunately not taken but a late tackle by Torquay’s prop forward on Wellington’s outside half, Patrick Jarman, saw the visitors reduced to 14 for the final ten minutes of the half. The home side fully exploited this numerical advantage they were now experiencing when impressive centre Will Hanock crashed over underneath the posts for a well worked try. Hawkings made no mistake with conversion to further increase the Red & Blacks lead to 19-0 going into the half time break.
The Red & Blacks were hopeful of repeating their totally dominant 1st half performance in the second half but Torquay refused to lie down and scored a try immediately from the restart to reduce the arears to 19-5. This score, and now being back to the full complement, seemed to galvanise the visitors who had the better of the first 20 mins of the half. Their efforts were rewarded when they were awarded a pushover try, which was also converted, in front of The Red & Blacks post to reduce The Red & Blacks lead to 7 points. This set back was the spur for The Red & Blacks to put together some excellent attacks. One such attack was repelled via a fine Torquay clearance kick, the ball finding its way deep into Wellingtons half. The bouncing ball was pounced on by winger Joe Coppin who went on mazy and jinking run, leaving would be tacklers floundering in his wake, to score one of the finest tries seen for many a year from 55 metres out. The conversion was missed but The Red & Blacks extended their lead to 24-12. It seemed to all that this score might have settled the encounter but Torquay were not finished and came back again to score another converted try to make the score 24-19. The final 10 mins of the half was a nervy affair but The Red & Blacks defence stood firm, typified by superb tackling by Jack Woodland, to see the game out taking the 24-19 win.
The whole match day squad can take great pride in their performances in what was a well-deserved and much welcomed win. The confidence taken from this win will only help the team going forward into the vital forthcoming games. Second row Will Hinchcliffe & centre Hanock put in sterling performances, whilst Tom Hawkings came in for particular praise from the visiting supporters.
Saturday sees The Red & Blacks travel to Bude in what is sure to be another keenly contested encounter.