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Penalties see off Westoe's Promotion hopes

1 year ago By dave barnes

Westoe Young-bloods fight to the end

Lookers sponsored Westoe went into today's promotion play-off against a strong West Leeds' side, confident after last week's win against Barnard Castle.

With a side consisting of home-grown players, Westoe have shown it is possible to compete against the current trend of 'buying-in' talent, by developing from within and building on the strong bonds of a true Community Club ethos.

After a myriad of complaints from the visitors regarding location, playing surface, pitch markings, ball pressures etc, the game was finally underway; with club coach, Graeme Smith, summing it up perfectly after yet another issue - "We can play with a peanut, let's get on with it".

From the first whistle, the young Westoe side showed their passion and commitment. Their Juggernaut of a pack took control of the scrums and sterling work in the air from Sean Ramsay and John Younghusband, constantly disrupting their opponents line-outs.

Scrum half Michael Booth showed some fine box-kicking to keep the visitors pinned in their half, with the back-line showing great line-speed to thwart any attacks made. Early runs from Derek Worthington and Raymie Elliott gave early promise against well-drilled opponents.

Fifteen minutes into the match found Mak Reeder receiving a yellow card for a high tackle and the Leeds side showed composure in manipulating the extra space allowing their winger to score in the corner. 0-7

Their confidence high, the visitors put together a period of attacking play, which would normally see better results, however the Westoe defence kept them to a penalty goal on 28 minutes. 0-10

With ascendancy in the line-outs, Westoe played the line and attacked from 5m out. A clean take from John Younghusband, they set up a maul, which was pulled down and playing the advantage hit several close-in drives, Rob Scorer eventually crossing the line to end the half, 7-10.

The second half found the Westoe pack hounding the opposition, slowly working their way up-field. Fifteen minutes in saw a carbon-copy score, their line-out being collapsed and ensuing drives seeing Ryan Lamb cross for the score. 14-10

Leeds closed the gap to 14-13 after twenty minutes setting up an exciting final quarter for everything to play for.

Both teams showed their intent and only magnificent shifts in defence prevented further tries. Westoe continued to play the line and passed up potential three point attempts, looking to finish off their opponents with another try.

With ten minutes to play, Leeds' number 14 received a yellow after flanker Sean Ramsay was bitten and a flurry of punches thrown. With the man advantage, Westoe threw wave after wave of attacks against a determined opposition.

As the game neared the final whistle, both teams lost some composure, Westoe's Sam Gaff receiving a yellow for punching. Leeds converted the penalty taking the lead, followed by a second minutes later. 14-19

The home support hoped to see a repeat of last week's final minute steal; however despite ferocious attacks, the visitor's defence held firm, denying Westoe of the fairy-tale end to the season.

Despite the loss, Westoe have had a magnificent season, showing they are a force to reckon with and should be favourites to win promotion as league champions next year.

They finish the league with the best defensive record and they have gained at least one point from every fixture, showing they only need to improve by small margins to totally dominate.

Graeme Smith and Chris Judson have moulded together a locally sourced side - (Only one player in the squad, not having played for the Junior Section) - proving that a club does not have to buy-in talent for success.

With the West Nautical sponsored Development team winning the County Bowl final and the re-emergence of the Senators, Westoe should only improve in the future. They are starting to see the return of players who prematurely retired during the ill-fated jaunt into semi-pro rugby and this experience will help further development and hopefully a third team playing on a regular basis.

Links between the Senior and Junior sections have been firmed up under the tenure of exiting Chairman Ian Etchells and Westoe can look to the conveyor-belt of new players coming through the ranks.

We have seen great success both on and off the pitch this season, with a young squad, who could all feasibly be in the team for at least five years or more. The development side now have a core of players fighting for first team spots and the competition for places will ensure player improvement.

Updated 15:45 - 30 Apr 2017 by dave barnes

Where next?

England v Barbarians Big Screen at Westoe RFC, 3.00 Sunday
Westoe Face Final Hurdle in Promotion Play-off Westoe v West Leeds - Saturday 29th - Harton Tech College - 3.00. NE34 6DL


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