Wiltshire Publications

Westbury RFC 16 – 15 Warminster Rugby – Dorset & Wilts South 1

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 at 2:28 pm.

WESTBURY RFC made it four wins in a row against their local rivals Warminster on Saturday 21st September.

Having made a blistering start to the season the previous week with an emphatic win against Salisbury 2nds, Westbury made the short trip along the A350 to local rivals Warminster. Results between the two sides have been very close over the last few seasons and this game was no different.

Westbury were without the exciting centre partnership of Darren Fuller and Duncan Weir and fielded a side with six changes. Nick Bourne took over the fly half role from Sione Falanisese with Chris Lanfear making the step up from the 2nds to play on the wing in place of Elliot Waller. Chris Bush was also promoted from the 2nds to play at Number 8 despite having enjoyed most of his career at prop.

The game started with both sides enjoying possession but not long enough to put together a passage of play of any significance. Westbury’s scrum and line out were impressive throughout the game, frequently winning the opposition’s ball as well as their own. Despite their dominance in the set piece Westbury found themselves behind after a lucky break for former Westbury player Kris Clayton who picked up on a loose pass just outside the 22 to score in the corner. The conversion came back off the upright to give Warminster a narrow lead.

Warminster extended their lead shortly afterwards with another try leaving Westbury trailing 10-0, thankfully the Warminster kicker again hit the upright to miss out on the extras.

Despite some strong running in the loose from James Wild, Nick Bourne and Nigel Kershaw, Westbury were unable to turn their possession into points. Kershaw made some fantastic counter attacking runs from within his own half providing strong platforms for the forwards to work from.

In the second half, Westbury began to dominate in the set piece and rucks with some great forward work providing clean ball for veteran scrum half Lee Adams. Nick Bourne made use of the space with some great kicks to the corners ensuring Warminster spent a long time in their own half.

This pressure produced points as Bourne dropped an audacious drop goal and kicked a penalty to bring the scores to 10-6. Things got difficult for the White Horse men as Warminster’s Clayton made an interception on his own line to break away, being brought down by some great covering tackles from Kershaw and Kirk. This gave Warminster the field position they needed to score another try with the conversion being missed yet again.

With the scores at 15-6, Westbury took control through their forwards, marauding up the centre of the park putting pressure on the Warminster pack. Bourne continued to kick intelligently to the corners and had the Warminster back three scampering to clear their lines. The pressure eventually told with a well-deserved team try touched down by skipper Jack Bates was powered over the line by front row colleague Daniel Haines with Bourne adding the extras.

This brought the scores to 15-13 with Westbury looking for the win and Warminster starting to creak, giving away penalty after penalty.

Replacement Nathan Hymas came close to scoring shortly afterwards with some great footwork helping him beat several defenders and break an attempted tackle. The Warminster defence managed to scramble in time to hold him up short of the line.

With 10 minutes left, Bourne slotted over a penalty to give Westbury the lead for the first time in the game. Warminster attempted to rally with ex professional Jamie Miller making some good breaks but handling errors and the fantastic Westbury defence caused the moves to break down and return possession to Westbury.

The final few minutes were tense as Warminster attacked from their own half. Miller made the break and rather than offload, decided to take contact which resulted in him being penalised for holding on in the tackle.

This was to be the last chance for Warminster as Westbury controlled the ball, retaining possession through the forwards before the ref blew for time.

An impressive result for Westbury giving them one of their best starts to the league in several years. They showed great heart and discipline to come back from a half time deficit and did not concede a penalty during the second half!

Westbury’s men of the match were the returning Chris Bush who showed surprising athleticism for a big man, made some crushing tackles. As well as fly half Nick Bourne who showed great composure when kicking from hand and tee, and executed Westbury’s game plan perfectly.