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Down to the wire as Westoe go for promotion.

11 months ago By dave barnes

Glorious sunshine at fiery Middlesbrough

Lookers-sponsored Westoe took one more step to promotion this week and face the simple equation - Win next week and earn the play-off spot against West Leeds or York.

In glorious sunshine, South Shields Westoe travelled to Middlesbrough, aiming for a five-point win against a side they beat 38-0 at home earlier in the season.

They were faced with a very different side, intent on spoiling Westoe's promotion hope and on a five game winning streak.

With both teams looking to play an expansive fast match, the key factor on the day was going to be defence.

After an initial bout of pressure from Boro, the Westoe defence held firm and limited the home side to a penalty. 3-0

From the restart, Westoe took control of the ball and worked their way up field, Sam Gaff, Paul Evans and Derek Worthington creating some effective breaks and gaining territory. West were awarded a penalty, which was taken quickly by Luke Moffett, spotting the gap and taking the lead. 3-7

With both teams playing a fast and furious pace, the vocal support expected a try-fest and high-scoring gun-fight; however they were treated to a display of solid defence from the visitors, showing why they currently have the best defensive record in the league.

It took Boro until 32 minutes before they retook the league with an entertaining try; centre Homan showed his pace and vision, splitting West's defence on a 50m run, passing to his centre partner just before the line to retake the lead. 8-7

Just three minutes later he struck again, this time being pulled down close to the line. Westoe were penalised at the scrum and a quick take from the hooker, saw Boro's lead extend. 15-7

In the twelve minutes of extra time played in the half, the sides swapped penalties leaving the half-time score 18-10.

Westoe came out firing in the second half, but as previous weeks, tried too hard at times with complex moves and long-floating passes, where simple hands and numbers were often the best option.

Their defence held firm and Boro never looked like breaching the wall in the half; however the clock quickly turned into Westoe's biggest enemy.

After a period of sustained pressure, Westoe kicked to the corner for the line-out. Boro decided not to contest and Westoe lock John Younghusband secured the ball, found a gaping hole and waltzed over the line for the score. 18-15 with fifteen minutes left to play.

Westoe made things difficult for themselves; already using their allocated replacements; they found themselves down to fourteen men for the remainder of the match when Reggie Fasa was injured.

The clock counting down, Westoe again went to the corner, secured the line-out and drove towards Boro's line. The home side managed to halt Westoe's progress, only for Sam Gaff to break off from the back and power over the line for the score and ultimately the win. 18-22

Westoe now sit second in the league and with Northern already promoted, face Barnard Castle in two weeks time in a winner takes all match for the play-off spot against West Leeds or York.

Having superior stats in both attack and defence, Westoe need to ensure 100% concentration and commitment throughout and they should come away with the win, overturning the home loss back in September last year.

Whatever happens it has been a superb season so far, Westoe's young team bouncing back to form and finding their confidence and building a solid defence. Westoe have come away with at least one point from every match this year, showing that they only need fine adjustments to dominate the league.

Updated 10:36 - 9 Apr 2017 by dave barnes

Where next?

Club AGM & SGM 18th & 21st April


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