Wiltshire Publications

Westbury through to Southern Counties Vase final

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Southern Counties Junior Vase Semi Final Saturday 25th January Aldermaston 7 – Westbury 20

Westbury are through to the final of the Southern Counties competition after an impressive 20-7 win at Berkshire side Aldermaston.

They will now meet the Oxfordshire club Faringdon in the final on 22th February.

The ever growing number of Westbury Rugby fans travelled by coach and car to Aldermaston and were not disappointed.  

Westbury last met Aldermaston 24 years ago in the old Berks, Dorset & Wilts League, so their form was a bit of an unknown quantity.

The spectators could not contain their joy, when straight from the kick off and Westbury receiving the ball, full back Dan Heatley, ran from his own 22 metre area, to well over the halfway line, where he was tackled.  Heatley was able to pass the ball out of the tackle to the supporting Mat Inseal.  Inseal then took off down the right wing, skirting round the defence and with a superb handoff, left the covering winger sat on his backside.  It was then a race to the try line, where Inseal touched down behind the posts giving Westbury standoff Aaron Vaughan, now back after a week out, an easy conversion.  7 – 0, all within 40 seconds of the kick off. 

Aldermaston were now stung into action and for most of the next 20 minutes kept Westbury in their own half as they tried to break down the visitors defence.  As in previous matches Westbury stood firm and were gaining more of the ball and forcing their way up field.  After 30 minutes, an Aldermaston player was caught holding on the ball after being tackled. Westbury were then awarded a penalty.  Being about 20 metres from the posts, Vaughan confidently kicked the ball between the uprights for the points. 10 – 0 to the visitors.

Westbury scored again 5 minutes later, after winning a scrum near the half way line.  The ball was passed out to the backs and into the hands of full back Heatley, who then passed to centre Koro Sitiveni.  Heatley looped round his centre and received the ball once more.  With wing Ash Hart, on his outside, Heatley drew the defender and passed out to the wing, Hart then used his pace to run around a couple of Aldermaston players to score in the corner.  This gave Vaughan a difficult conversion attempt, but the Standoff was up to the task and added the points. 

After the half time break and Westbury leading 17 – 0, confidence was high in the Westbury camp.  Although Aldermaston had other ideas and started carrying the ball up the middle of the park using their big forwards as battering rams.  Westbury stood firm for a good 15 minutes and were able to repel these attacks until unfortunately they were penalised for a high tackle.  Quick thinking Aldermaston took a tap penalty and drove into the Westbury 22 where the ball was released to their No 10 who barrelled his way under the posts to score a converted try. 

17 – 7 and about 25 minutes to go with a resurgent Aldermaston back in the game.  The home side once more threw everything they had at the Westbury defenders, but were met by a solid wall of players determined that they would not add to the score.  Gradually Westbury nullified the Aldermaston attacks and took the pressure off themselves to such an extent that the Westbury forwards were now able to disrupt any Aldermaston scrummage ball and put the home backs under pressure.   On 30 minutes, Westbury were awarded a penalty 40 metres out.  This posed no problem to Aaron Vaughan who sealed the win with the kick.

20 – 7 at the final whistle. Once more Westbury had shown their prowess when under pressure with great defensive skills. This was lead in part by the example of Flanker Ryan Knight, who tackled his heart out all game. This, plus his ball carrying ability to set up attacking play, won him Westbury’s man of the match award.

Next week, the club return to League matters, were they will be on the road again. This time they will play Swindon 2nds.  The Swindon club are just 11 points behind Westbury in second place in the league, so it looks like another hotly contested fixture for the White Horse Men and an exciting afternoon for those supporters.