Wellington welcomed Devonport Services to the Athletic Ground on Saturday and found themselves confronted by a well organised & drilled Devon team, writes Allyn Chetland.The Red & Blacks made three changes from the team that beat Burnham the previous Saturday. Tom Hawkins came in at full back for the unfortunate Nev Pitman who dropped to the bench, Luke Brereton replaced the injured Liam Phillips and Liam Symons got the nod in the scrum half position.
Playing towards the clubhouse with a slight wind at their backs the home side started brightly enough gaining initial success through tactical kicking, however as the half progressed this tactic was easily dealt with by the Devon unit. It was the Devon side that drew first blood scoring a converted try following a fine attacking move by their three-quarters.
Jack Woodland gathered the re-start kick and went on an excellent attacking run deep into Services territory. Unfortunately the ball was lost in the following ruck and the scoring opportunity was lost. The Services pack now started a get a grip on the game and The Red & Blacks found it difficult to win any meaningful possession but to their credit they did not take a step backwards and showed great passion & commitment throughout the game.
Wellington’s points came from the boot of Hawkins who was successful with two penalty attempts and was unlucky with another long range penalty from nearly the halfway line that just went wide. On the stroke of half-time Services tightening their grip and extended their lead from a well organised driving lineout when they scored their second try of the half .The conversion attempt form the touch line went wide making the score 6 -12 to the away side.
The second period started with the Services again on the offensive using their pack, which was now well on top to great effect. However the ‘Red Wall’ stood firm and held out for nearly 20mins of the half. However Devonport tightened their vice like grip on the game at this point and the ‘Wall’ started to crumble against the sustained forward power on display from the Devon side. The Red & Blacks conceded three further tries, one of which a was a push over, with two of the tries being converted.
Wellington did have a couple of scoring opportunities in the second period, one of which was an excellent attack from winger Jamie Hayman that was only stopped when he was brought down by desperate defence near the try line. Unfortunately again the ball was lost forward in the resulting ruck and an excellent opportunity to score was again lost. Hawkins was also again unlucky with another long range penalty attempt that dropped agonisely underneath the uprights. The final score read 6 – 31 to the visitors.
The Red & Blacks will feel that the final score did not do them justice and did not reflect the effort & commitment they put into this encounter. Centre George Hooper gave 110% for Wellingtons cause whilst Liam Symons performed admirably behind a retreating pack.
On Saturday The Red & Blacks travel to current league leaders Truro which is sure to be tough encounter.