CURATE’S EGG OF A SEASON CONTINUES
WESTCLIFFE 12 SHELFORD 50
Away wins in this league are hard to come by but when this Shelford team play well they are very good; when they don’t they aren’t!!!
Before the game the sides were level on league points; Shelford won the corresponding fixture at home by a solitary point when Westcliffe missed with the last kick of the game. All concerned, especially the large home crowd who enjoyed their President’s luncheon, expected a close game but with Shelford in full flow this was never going to be close.
With Chris Cutts back from injury (still a long way of match fitness) the front row row proved far too strong for the home side and safe lineout ball from Dave Hill meant that at last the Shelford backs had a solid platform to play off. They did not disappoint.
Playing with a very strong wind Westcliffe expected to build a score but this was not to be. Shelford defended with great discipline, conceding only 3 penalties all half and maintaining possession well. In their own 22 the ball went down the back and Shelford were off, fine handling and two rucks later Mark Ryder touched down in the corner, Josh Simmons added a miraculous conversion. Minutes later Shelford’s backs were off again this time Tuli Paea did the last 50yds on his own; 0 -12 to the visitors. Westcliffe did score a try when a speculative kick ahead bounced sideways evading the covering defenders. 5 – 12 at half time.
It would have been easy to sit back and use the wind to pin the host back but Shelford were hungy for scores. With Josh Simmons, playing by far his best game of the season, pulling the strings helped by centres Warwick Anderson and Greg White the visitors backs took charge. Aided and abetted with strong carries from the forwards with Paddy Reilly leading the way Shelford kept their shape and added six second half tries in a commanding display. Tuli Paea completed a fine hat trick and Simon Hrbek, Josh Simmons, Mark Ryder x 2 and veteran Aki Lea all touching down over the white wash.
The only blemish was when the discipline slipped and three consecutive penalties allowed Westcliffe to get a consolation score before Shelford put 12 passes together ending the game by scoring in the corner.
A good day out at the seaside showing the promise this team has. The Head Coach, Gareth Evans, was delighted with the first half performance; “ the forwards laid the platform” but it was the backs who starred and showed what a force they have become. The day was rounded off by a fine 52 – 20 points win by the Shelford 2ndXV, The Nomads.