Wiltshire Publications

Westbury Rugby Club on the road to Twickenham after cup victory

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Southern Counties Junior Shield Final Saturday 22nd February 2020 Faringdon 22 – Westbury 31

It was with great expectations that two coaches full of players and supporters set off for Faringdon for this final.  These supporters, plus the many that made the journey by car, were treated to an exciting game of rugby in which Westbury were to be victorious, due in no small part to the great support on the touch line, cheering the team on. 

The first score of the game came after 8 minutes, when the man of the match Dan Heatley, standing in at scrum half for the injured James Catley-Day, stormed over the try line after his forwards had mauled the ball up field then released it to him to score.  Captain, Aaron Vaughan added the conversion. 

Faringdon narrowed the gap a few minutes later, with a penalty after Westbury were caught offside while defending against the opponents’ attack.  It did not take long for Westbury to widen the gap once more, when Heatley picked up the ball at the base of a 5 metre scrum and barged his way through the defenders, off loaded to No 8 Will Dennett for him to score and to take Westbury’s total to 12 points.  Vaughan missed with the conversion.

With the clock showing 20 minutes played. Aaron Vaughan broke up field well into the Faringdon half where he was tackled. In the tackle the standoff passed to the supporting Dennett who carried on the movement until he was close to the try line where he slipped the ball to his Prop Michael Tuck who crashed over the line. This time, Vaughan’s conversion attempt was successful.  

On the half hour, after sustained pressure on the Westbury defence, Faringdon kept themselves in the game with a well taken try, scored out wide, but the conversion was missed.  19 – 8 to the visitors at half time and Westbury looking in good shape.

At the restart, with Faringdon perhaps given a boost by their last score and putting Westbury under pressure for at least the first 10 minutes of the half, they were rewarded with a converted try after 13 minutes had gone by.  Westbury soon replied though, with Dan Heatley working his magic once more, to dance his way over the try line, after Westbury had scrummaged well to secure good ball for the scrum half to use.  The conversion was missed on this occasion. 

Westbury now seemed to gain the upper hand and were well inside the home side 22 and on the attack.  Then in an effort to get the ball wide to the wing, the looping pass was intercepted and showing a clean set of heels, the Faringdon centre won the race to cross Westbury’s try line to score under the posts, giving their No 10 an easy conversion kick. 

27 minutes had gone by and the scoreboard was showing Westbury leading by just 2 points at 24 – 22 and the Westbury supporters were getting a little nervous.  The men in green and black knew that they had to play well to win this match and keep the ball tight. This they did for the next 6 or 7 minutes, then on 35 minutes, after a series of rucks where the forwards kept the ball under close control, they quickly sent the ball out to the full back Sam McQueen.  Sam, seeing a hint of space, sat one defender on his backside on his way to score his try, out wide. Aaron Vaughan then settled the nerves with a well taken conversion.  31 – 22 and Westbury were able to see the game out for the win.

Westbury, now being the Southern Counties Champions will have a tough game against the South West Counties Champions, Old Cryptians of Gloucester.  This fixture will be played at Westbury on 14th March, giving Westbury home advantage.  This is likely to be the toughest game of the series of Cup matches that the team have played so far, with Old Cryptians sitting on top of Gloucester Division 1 with only one loss this season. 

Next week (29th February), we are back to League Rugby when Westbury will entertain Swindon Supermarine at Knott Field, with Supermarine looking to reverse the loss they suffered to Westbury earlier in the season.