Wiltshire Publications

Victorious Westbury bring home trophy

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Saturday 21st December. Dorset & Wilts 1st XV Plate Final Westbury 25-17 Colerne

WESTBURY RFC have won the Dorset and Wilts 1st XV Plate, beating Colerne RFC 25-17 in the final – despite Colerne’s home ground advantage. 

With the continual rain, finding a neutral ground to play this final became more difficult by the day, with many pitches waterlogged.

Colerne’s pitch was one of the pitches that was playable, so Westbury agreed to play at Colerne, thereby giving them home advantage.

The match would prove to be both exciting and nerve wracking, as throughout the game the lead would change six times.  Westbury were the first to score with a penalty, kicked by Aaron Vaughan, when Colerne were caught offside.  A few minutes later Westbury were guilty of the same offence and soon found themselves trying to defend against a quickly-taken penalty by the home side, who were able to power over the try line to score a converted try. 

Ten minutes later, with Westbury on the attack, skipper Vaughan kicked deep into the Colerne 22, where the wing, Jamie Dixon, outpaced everybody to touch down for the try.  Unfortunately Vaughan was unable to add the conversion.  8 – 7 to Westbury.  Three minutes before the half time whistle, with Colerne on the attack, Westbury were again caught offside.  The resulting penalty was duly kicked and at half time, Westbury were trailing 8 – 10.

The game resumed after the break at a frantic pace, with both sides trying to gain supremacy.  Westbury opened up the second half scoring after 18 minutes when from a Westbury penalty the ball was quickly passed out to left wing, Ash Hart, for him to score a try.  Vaughan added the conversion 15 – 10 to the visitors.

Ten minutes later, Westbury found themselves trailing by 17 -15 after Colerne came back at them with a well worked try, scored from another penalty offence by a Westbury player.  The ball was carried deep into Westbury territory but the player was stopped short of the try line, and a ruck was set up, from which Colerne managed to cross the whitewash to score.   The conversion was kicked successfully.

With the clock now on the half hour, Westbury launched an attack up the left side of the pitch where  the ball carrier was brought down short of the try line. But, with fabulous handling involving both forwards and backs and with great interplay between outside centre Mat Inseal, and wing Jamie Dixon, the winger scored in the right hand corner.  Aaron Vaughan was left with a difficult conversion, but with no problem at all he bisected the posts.  Westbury were now in the lead once more 22 – 17 with 8 minutes on the clock. 

From the restart, Westbury immediately went onto the offensive, with Vaughan kicking deep into the Colerne’s 22. The follow up to the kick was good and the Colerne covering player was brought down but he was guilty of not releasing the ball.  Another penalty was awarded to Westbury.  Vaughan made no mistake with the kick which put Westbury 8 points ahead with 5 minutes to go.  This left Colerne needing two scores to win.

For the last 5 minutes, Colerne threw everything they had at their opponents and indeed were camped within Westbury’s 5 metre area.  Try as they may, they were unable to add to the score, with the Westbury defensive wall standing firm.  25 – 17 at the whistle.

Westbury won this match in good fashion; this was mainly due to the belief in their own abilities and no shortage of skill. 

The team would like to thank their travelling supporters who helped to turn this fixture into almost a home game with all the encouragement they gave. 

Winning this trophy now propels them into the Southern Counties Junior Vase Semi Final where they will meet the Bucks/Oxon side Aldermaston, on 25th January.

Picture: Team manager Paul Couzens, captain Aaron Vaughan and chairman/coach Gareth Vaughan with the trophy.