Wiltshire Publications

Westbury RFC 27-22 Blandford – Dorset & Wilts South 1, Sat. 22nd Feb

WESTBURY entertained league leaders Blandford in their first home game of 2014 following numerous cancelled games due to the poor weather.

The first half began evenly with both teams fighting for the upper hand. First blood went to Blandford when following a driving maul, the visitors number 8 crashed over for a converted try and a 7-0 lead. Westbury then attempted to gain territorial dominance but mistakes and infringements at the breakdown led to Blandford extending their lead with a penalty. Further penalties led to the referee warning Westbury Captain Chris Gillam that further offences would lead to a yellow card.

Blandford extended the lead to 15-0 when they touched down following another lineout drive. Unfortunately just before half-time, prop Daniel Haines was yellow carded due to accumulated offences.

Half-time Westbury 0-15 Blandford. Westbury began the 2nd half believing they could come back and started strongly, keeping Blandford pinned in their half with some strong defence. Centre Nathan Brown now operating on the flank made a break and offloaded off the floor to 2nd row Andrew Pittaway who cantered in from 20 metres to touch down under the posts to cut the lead to 10 points. Keeping the pressure on Westbury forced a penalty which Jack Brooks duly converted to bring Westbury within a converted try.

The home side then tied the scores when Alex Brown broke from in his own half and offloaded to full back Nigel Kershaw who streaked down the touch line to score, Brooks converted and the 14 man home side had fought back to 15-15. With Haines back on the pitch, Westbury continued to apply pressure and forced Blandford into conceding a penalty 5 metres out. With Westbury’s pack driving forward Haines popped his opposite number up winning another penalty. With the defence disorganised, Chris Gillam took a quick tap and powered over the line to give Westbury a 20-15 lead. Blandford tried to get back into the game and forced a pass in the home side’s 22, Brooks read this and raced away down the touch line he cut in field and drew the cover defender and offloaded to Andrew Twinney who added another try to his season’s tally. Brooks converted and Westbury led 27-15. Blandford managed a converted consolation try with the last play of the game to leave the final score 27-22.

The pride and teamwork shown by all Westbury players in the second half was fantastic and was a fitting tribute to the hard work put in by the committee and club members making the pitch playable.