Wiltshire Publications

Westbury finish season third in league

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Sat. 13th April. Dorset & Wilts Division 2 North Colerne 17 Westbury 46

For the final league game of the season, Westbury were away to Colerne, knowing that only a bonus point win would give them any chance of overhauling Marlborough 2nds for 2nd place in the league standings.

That of course depended on Marlborough losing at home to Melksham 2nds.

At the start of the game with Colerne putting the visitors under pressure, the Westbury team seemed to panic and made some basic errors in handling and were soon finding themselves having to defend their try line.  It took only 3 minutes for Colerne to open the scoring with a fine try under the posts, making for an easy conversion.  Westbury were 7 – 0 down and the game hardly started. 

It took a while for Westbury to settle down and to play to their own game plan, with the Colerne defence standing strong and repelling their opponents’ attempts to score.  The breakthrough came when the ball was worked wide to wing Jamie Dixon, who from the halfway line, set off on a glorious run, outpacing everyone and breaking a couple of attempts to tackle him, to touch the ball down behind the posts.  Aaron Vaughan added the conversion.

7 minutes later, Dixon worked his magic once more when he received the ball and again used his pace to score in the corner.  This time the conversion was missed.  From the kick off Colerne came back at Westbury and were rewarded with a penalty for a Westbury infringement.   This penalty was duly kicked.  There were no more scores in the half, so the score stood at 12 – 10 to Westbury.

At the start of the second half the Colerne kick off did not clear the 10 metre line, so Westbury opted for a scrum on halfway.  From this scrum the ball was passed out to Westbury centre Lee McClerg, who carried the ball deep into the Colerne half where he was tackled, but with skilful hands, he offloaded to his supporting player, the full back Ash Hart.  Hart then showed the opposition a clean pair of heels to burn off the defence and score.  Once again the conversion was missed. 

On 12 minutes the Westbury number 8, Ryan Knight, who up to this point was having an outstanding game with his ball carrying and attacking flair, decided it was time that the forwards got on to the score sheet. So from the back of a scrum he jinked and dodged  his way through the defenders to score a remarkable  try.  Vaughan was unable to add the extras.

Colerne, who were always looking dangerous, soon replied with a try when their visitors were penalised for being offside, just inside the 22metre line.  The Colerne quick thinking No 10, took a tap penalty and with Westbury not reacting quickly enough, ran through to score a converted try. 

Westbury’s  coach, Gareth Vaughan, now started to ring the changes and brought on a couple of replacements. He was rewarded when replacement centre, Mathew Inseal, showed that he too could use his pace to score and in almost a mirror image of the earlier Dixon try, ran in from half way after Aaron Vaughan had put him into space.  Sam McQueen added the conversion while Vaughan was receiving some treatment from a heavy tackle.  29 – 17 to Westbury.  A few minutes later Vaughan, now recovered from the tackle, added 3 points from a penalty when Colerne were caught offside. 

Once more a Westbury replacement player, flanker Reece Ball, came into play when he powered up field, ball in hand. He then offloaded to the ever supporting Ryan Knight, who passed  the ball to his wing, the speedster Jamie Dixon, who needed no invitation to score his hat trick try.  This time Vaughan was able to kick the conversion.

The final try of the match was scored by Sam McQueen who had now moved into the full back role and supporting his backs out wide in one more attack, was passed the ball and ran in from 30 metres to score.  Vaughan sealed the win with the conversion.  At the final whistle Westbury had won 46 – 17 against a very good and spirited Colerne, outscoring the home side 7 tries to 2.  The man of the match, who was chosen by Colerne, was Westbury’s Ryan Knight.

With this bonus point win, Westbury were now waiting for the Marlborough – Melksham result to see if they could claim 2nd place in the league.  Unfortunately, Marlborough had won their game and held on to the position, leaving Westbury in 3rd place. 

 This has been a good season for The White Horse Men, losing only 4 games all season, scoring 722 points and had 239 points scored against them.  On the way, they had beaten both of the teams above them; in fact they were the only side in the division to beat the league winners. 

The team would like to thank their ever-growing band of supporters for all of their support this season.

The next event to be held at Knott Field will be Westbury’s own 10s Tournament, with both men’s and ladies’ teams competing during the Bank Holiday Weekend of 25th/26th May.