Wiltshire Publications

Westbury unbeaten on the top of the league

Sat. 14th December. Dorset & Wilts Div 2 North Melksham 2nds 17-36 Westbury

Westbury took the short trip to Melksham for the last league fixture of 2019.

Melksham must have thought Christmas had come early when they found themselves 2 tries and a conversion up, all within 10 minutes of the kick off.  This was mainly due to the visitors struggling to get going and committing some serious errors with passes not going to hand, poor decision-making and possibly worst of all poor tackling.  This was from a team that normally perform these skills well. 

It took Westbury 20 minutes to get into the game and string some phases of play together.  At last they got on to the score sheet after the forwards drove up field to set up a ruck.  Melksham were then penalised for handling the ball on the floor.  The penalty was taken quickly, off went the forwards again and won another penalty when the defenders were caught entering the ruck from the side.  Once more Westbury took a quick penalty and moved the ball by hand to the wing, Jamie Dixon, for him to score an unconverted try. 

On the half hour, hooker Jack Bates, scored a try after his forwards, now playing to their strengths, carried the ball up field with a series of driving mauls for him to crash over the line.   Skipper, Aaron Vaughan, added the conversion. 

Westbury’s third try came after lock forward Logan Smith, ball in hand, powered deep into the visitors’ half.  Smith was brought down, but from the ensuing ruck, the ball was passed out to centre Dan Heatley, who still had plenty of work to do to get near the try line.  Heatley set off on a run, out stepping the defence and using his pace scored out wide.  Vaughan was unable to convert the try. 

Not to be outdone and to their credit Melksham went all out to level the score, which in the last minute before half time they managed to do, after Westbury were penalised for holding on to the ball after a tackle.  Melksham’s forwards set up a catch and drive which resulted in an unconverted try.  Making the score 17 each at the break. 

During the break, coach Gareth ‘Foggy’ Vaughan, had to read the riot act to his players.  This seemed to have the desired effect, because within one and a half minutes from the restart, Jamie Dixon added his second try.  This came from a Westbury scrum after a Melksham player knocked the ball on.  Westbury’s No 8 Will Dennett, picked up the ball from the base of the scrum and charged up field.  Dennett passed to his supporting scrum half James Catley-Day, who then moved the ball to Dixon for him to score in the corner.   Unfortunately, the conversion was missed. 

On 20 minutes, Westbury were awarded a line out just inside the Melksham half.  From the throw in the Westbury forwards drove up field with hooker, Jack Bates, carrying the ball. He then broke off and fed the ball to Ash Hart who had moved from wing to the full back position.  Hart used his pace to score the try.  Vaughan added the conversion.

Westbury’s sixth try came on the half hour, when Westbury’s other centre, Matt Inseal, broke out from his own 22 metre area and ran deep into the Melksham half where he was tackled.  His supporting forwards set up a ruck from which scrum half Catley-Day, fed the ball out to the rampaging hooker Jack Bates, who barrelled his way to the line to score.  Aaron Vaughan followed up with the conversion.

Melksham came back hard, looking to score their fourth and bonus point try. But try as they may, Westbury’s solid defence could not be breached.

36 – 17 to the visitors at the final whistle.  Considering the poor start to the game, Westbury showed their strength of character to turn the match around and indeed to shut out the opposition completely in the second half.