Westbury entertained Cricklade on Saturday and gave possibly their best performance so far this season.
The way Westbury started the match was not too special, when they failed to deal with the kick off and were soon under pressure. This allowed Cricklade to score within 2 minutes with a converted try.
From the restart, Westbury regrouped and set up several attacking movements which Cricklade managed to repel but after sustained pressure Westbury were awarded a penalty for a high tackle. Aaron Vaughan scored with the kick.
Westbury captain, Nigel Kershaw, opened the home side’s try account when, with great interplay between him and centre Dan Gould, he found space to power over the line. The try was unconverted.
A couple of minutes later, after some cleaver passing in the backs, Gould was able to give Jonny Dolman a pass to put the wing over the line in the corner. Again the conversion was missed.
On the half hour, right wing Billy Mitchell collected the ball on the halfway line and set off on a great run up the touch line. He was tackled about 10 metres out from the try line but got his pass away to supporting flanker, Marcus Holstead, for him to touch down, but once more the conversion was missed.
Westbury were then guilty of taking their foot off the gas and allowing gaps to appear in the defence, which Cricklade took advantage of to score a well-worked try and conversion.
The home side were the next to score when Cricklade kicked the ball out of their 22 metre area and missed touch, only for Nigel Kershaw to catch the ball and set off on a scintillating run, skipping around the clutching hands of the defenders to put Jonny Dolman in for his second try. The conversion was missed.
With time running out in the first half and Westbury again leaving holes in the defence, Cricklade backs used good ball skills to take the advantage and score another converted try. 23 – 21 at half time.
At the start of the second half Westbury went behind after Cricklade broke through a poorly organised home side defence and scored an unconverted try.
This had the effect on Westbury, causing them to switch on and produce some ‘champagne’ rugby in the rest of the half.
Excellent handling and offloading skills, combined with superb supporting of the ball carrier, added 3 tries with Ryan Knight and man of the match, Nathan Brown, both scoring and super sub Andrew Pittaway making a huge impact to score the last try. Vaughan at last got his ‘eye in’ to convert all 3 tries.
The match was a joy to watch as Westbury put together some good handling skills and all round play, bringing a smile to coach Chris Bush’s face.
It must also be said that Cricklade played a huge part in making the match extremely competitive by always threatening to break down the home defence, but Westbury stood firm to win 44 – 26.