Wests were back at home looking to build on last weeks win and secure the first home victory at Blue Hill Lane this season. We were without Martin Midgley this week who was scooter rallying, whilst Rian Hoey was missing due to the assault on his knee carried out at Cleckheaton last weekend as the WL injury list expanded even further. Team spirits are high though, with Tom Jackson speeding past Eliah rather than picking him up on the way to the club.
As Andy forgot to charge up his speaker we lost the early changing room battle, with my Nokia 3310 speaker being no match for the soundkit that YM had borrowed from Pacha.
With all of this out of the way Wests kicked off with the wind at our back, somehow during the first phase, the WL injury curse struck John Marshall, who had to leave the field, replaced by Scott Coyne.
Following this reshuffle we immediately seemed to upset the referee giving away a penalty close to the touchline, which missed, before following this up seconds later with one closer to the posts, which didn’t. 0-3
Another score followed shortly later when having given away several more penalties YM kicked to the corner, and although the initial drive was repelled they were awarded the first scrum of the day on the WL 5m line. The scrum wheeled and the referee decided to award a penalty try immediately, the majority of the team went towards halfway whilst George went under the posts waiting for the kick, as it seems he has not updated his lawbook since 2008. 0-10.
WL seemed to be falling on the wrong side of the referee and it was George Carpenter who paid the price, being dispatched to the bin, for not realising you couldn’t lay on the wrong side and get in the way of the scrum halfs pass.
Another YM score followed shortly after, as Sam and DTR discussed who was going to defend at 10 and 13 from the YM lineout, they took it quickly and scored in the corner. This was also around the same time that DTR’s lies caught up with him, having talked his was out of hooker, to flanker, then to wing and finally into 13 this week, he realised that he had got this bold strategy drastically wrong, and promptly summoned Alex to swap with him and save his blushes. 0-15
Having had enough of this defending nonsense, Jack Marshall fielded a clearance kick and stepped the majority of the YM defensive line, breaking through a gap and finally giving WL some front foot ball. This seemed to inspire the rest of the team with Duane Smith using his signature moves to punch some holes in the away defence along with the powerful and handsome Dan Baxter.
The pressure was starting to tell and with George Carpenter back on the pitch, Wests were back to a full complement in the scrum and provided good clean ball for Tom Jackson, the 6th fastest man in the club, to crash over under the posts, with the try being converted by Campbell Breakwell. 7-15
The YM kick off didn’t go 10 and Wests set up for a scrum on the halfway line. WL won the ball, then someone in the backs did some rugbying to get us on the front foot (not DTR though). Eventually the front 5 realised the ball was no longer in the scrum and stopped pushing and joined in the attack. Sam Neave went close to scoring out wide, but was repelled and similar attempt ended with nothing from Scott Coyne. WL were not to be kept out for long though, with George, keen to shed his lazy reputation acquired against Cleckheaton, flopping over under the posts, Campbell again converting. 14-15.
Eliah Chitiyo is fastly establishing himself as a fan favourite, and went close to scoring late in the second half; from a Dec Penny lineout take the ball went off the top and through the hands, before Eliah was stopped only meters short and the ball went forward. There is a new feel of positivity around the club though as even Eliah’s knock ons are greeted with applause from the fans.
Unfortunately, Wests were not able to hold on till half time, despite the best efforts of Timmy Jackson and Jack Marshall to tackle everyone, eventually someone else had to have ago and poor tackle choice resulted in another unconverted try. 14-20.
Half Time and despite a particularly horrific first twenty minutes WL were very much in this game – 14-20.
Wests were to fall further behind however, as YM scored two further trys, one picking off some weak defence around the fringes, and the other I don’t remember, probably DTRs fault though. 14-34.
In this play the WL injury curse took another victim, Jack Marshall having to leave the field, presumably his 4 foot frame struggling to cope with having to tackle all of YMs 7 foot 18st monsters, and then turn them over as well.
George Carpenter was currently level on pantomime villain points for the day, having been binned and then scoring, and he managed to briefly lift himself into the echelons of pantomime hero by crashing over for his brace under the posts and putting WL within both try scoring and losing BP territory. 21-34.
This was not to last for long though as almost from kick off George committed the greatest sign that a forward can – HE KICKED THE BALL – and not in the ‘kick it in a ruck way’ that YM had been allowed to do that day. This was a full conscious ‘this is a good idea’ choice by the second rower. Funnily enough, this didn’t work, and George sacrificed his slim hopes of back to back man of the match awards.
Wests set about trying to secure that all important 4th try, however, Rab Watt borrowed Dan Baxters loyalty card for the Strip Club and a chance went begging. The curse was to strike again, as Scott Coyne went down with calf knack and had to be helped from the pitch by Lewis (the physio, not Bromley).
With the injured trio of Steve Anderson and brothers John and Jack Marshall discussing who would have to go back on, it appears that the bigger boys bullied Jack who re-entered the field despite carrying a pretty heavy knock.
Wests turned the ball over in the YM 22 as the defensive line were put under pressure by WL, and Dec Penny crashed the ball in, and got his knees to ground making it a tackle. Unfortunately, Decs 9 foot frame seemed to work against him as the referee adjudged he was still on his feet and the ball was awarded to YM.
To there credit YM took this opportunity to take the game out of sight, working the ball up to the WL 22, and creating an opportunity for another score out wide, to take us up to full time.
Full Time 21-39
Wests were disappointed not to come away with 2 losing BP, although YM were good value for the win, WL know that we can’t afford to sit off the opposition for 20 minutes before starting, which cost us dearly today.
There were some further good performances today, Duane and Dec featuring prominently in most of what was good in the WL pack, matched by George, who had an eventful day with 2 trys, a yellow card and a kick.
In the backs Timmy Jackson and Jack Marshall both made a staggering number of good tackles, whilst Alex Hughes stepped in to 13 and either performed very well, or DTR was just that bad that anything was an improvement. Eliah went well again but needs to work on his blaming of others.
Man of the match was Jack Marshall, for making loads of tackles, being the best Marshall and his solid advice to the forwards throughout the game ‘come on push lads’.
Finally, it was not only the playing members who just missed out on a late score on Saturday, as Sam Marshall put in a Herculean effort to secure some action – unfortunately, staying up so far past his bedtime ruined any chances he may have had, although the ladies were kind enough to buy him his tea and drop at his mams house before he got grounded.
Next up is Morpeth away – Let Baz know if you’re on the bus.
Updated 14:43 - 29 Oct 2018 by Daniel Baxter