This was another vital match in Wellington’s late season mission to continue playing rugby at this level.
Wellington enjoyed plenty of territorial advantage in the first 20 minutes but a lack of precision and a tendency to incur the wrath of the referee at vital times meant that they were unable to turn that territory into points. Fly half Matt Parsons, however, opened the scoring half through the half with a well struck penalty when persistent pressure led to an infringement.
Barts won the corresponding fixture earlier in the season so the hosts were looking to gain revenge. The Chiefs welcomed back Harry Ramsay after his fact finding tour of Amsterdam and Paddy Jarman returned to the centre following a nasty injury a few weeks ago. Neville Pitman took up a slot on the bench making his first 1st XV appearance for some time.
The lead was short lived as Barts struck back almost immediately with a penalty of their own from Jack Steer. Despite this brief set back Wellington continued playing rugby in their opponents half. The pressure was maintained and the home side edged in front just before half time with another Parsons penalty.
The second half began with Barts using their size and bulk to good advantage, especially at scrum time. They grew in confidence as they got more of the ball and a fast moving passage of play ended in a try for Chris Coote.
Despites Barts physical advantage the Wellington players showed great character and refused to take a step back. Indeed one incident led to players from both sides having a full and frank discussion with each other. Captain Mickey Norman and a Barts player ended up taking a ten minute breather in the sin bin as a result.
Wellington were now playing some good rugby with Will Brewer a constant menace at the base of the scrum and George Hodgson revealing the type of side-step that his father could only dream of. Play went deep into PP corner where the team were urged on by the clubhouse supporters. The ball came back along the line to the irrepressible Matt Parsons, now rapidly approaching veteran status, who dummied his way over for a well worked try. With two of Wellington’s three props now off injured the scrums were uncontested. Continued pressure from the Chiefs resulted in a further Parsons penalty to put the result beyond doubt.
This was a hard earned but invaluable win that lifts Wellington out of the danger zone. Everyone will be hoping that they can continue this type of form into next week’s game when Burnham of Sea visit the Athletic Ground.